Satire in the Historia Augusta


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Satire in the Historia Augusta
Physical Description:
1 online resource (190 p.)
Daniels, Shawn G
University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Doctorate ( Ph.D.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Classical Studies, Classics
Committee Chair:
Pagan-Wolpert, Victoria Emma
Committee Members:
Kapparis, Konstantinos
Wolpert, Andrew Oxman
Harpold, Terry Alan
Luke, Trevor S


Subjects / Keywords:
augusta -- historia -- satire
Classics -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Classical Studies thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Dessau recognized that, despite its claims, the Historia Augusta was written towards the end of the fourth century CE by a single man.  This thesis has guided almost 125 years of scholarship, yet the ambiguity that permeates the Historia Augusta has left it without a fitting, or even coherent, interpretation.  It has been described as panegyric for the emperor Julian, anti-Christian polemic, pro-pagan apology, or a trivial literary trifle that somehow survived the centuries.  The Historia Augusta demands a single argument that can explain its eccentricities.  The answer is satire. Verse satire and Menippean satire were the primary exponents of the genre in antiquity, and the Historia Augusta shares much with them.  Verse satire was scathing and erudite, Menippean satire exhibited ribaldry and poetic indulgence.  Even parody, satire’s cousin, shares the collection’s silliness and generic inversion.  The Historia Augusta demonstrates traces of all these genres but defies a precise label.  To analyze its satiric content, we need to determine the commonalities of satire and explore their role in the Historia Augusta. These generic tropes are a fixation on the quotidian, narrative ambiguity, and a central critique that ultimately leaves the reader in a state of aporia.  These elements pervade the Historia Augusta and make it a generic pastiche, nominally biography but fundamentally satiric. The Historia Augusta exhibits quotidian themes in its delight at demonstrating the sexual and gastronomic depravities of its emperors; in its constant puns and humor; and in its parody of biography, which emphasizes the personal over the political.  The many inventions, both about itself and its subjects, imbue the text with deep ambiguity.  These prove the presence of satire but not its meaning.  The Historia Augusta briefly treats religion, but its aporetic effect is minimal compared with politics.  There one sees ineffectual and corrupt emperors, a senate capable only of abject servility, and no hope for change.  Devoting a work to meaningless institutions fosters aporia, but the Historia Augusta does not wallow.  Given this inexorable cycle of futility, it offers a satiric solution: laughter.
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In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
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Includes vita.
Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description:
Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description:
This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Shawn G Daniels.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2013.
Adviser: Pagan-Wolpert, Victoria Emma.

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Material Information

Satire in the Historia Augusta
Physical Description:
1 online resource (190 p.)
Daniels, Shawn G
University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Doctorate ( Ph.D.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Classical Studies, Classics
Committee Chair:
Pagan-Wolpert, Victoria Emma
Committee Members:
Kapparis, Konstantinos
Wolpert, Andrew Oxman
Harpold, Terry Alan
Luke, Trevor S


Subjects / Keywords:
augusta -- historia -- satire
Classics -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Classical Studies thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Dessau recognized that, despite its claims, the Historia Augusta was written towards the end of the fourth century CE by a single man.  This thesis has guided almost 125 years of scholarship, yet the ambiguity that permeates the Historia Augusta has left it without a fitting, or even coherent, interpretation.  It has been described as panegyric for the emperor Julian, anti-Christian polemic, pro-pagan apology, or a trivial literary trifle that somehow survived the centuries.  The Historia Augusta demands a single argument that can explain its eccentricities.  The answer is satire. Verse satire and Menippean satire were the primary exponents of the genre in antiquity, and the Historia Augusta shares much with them.  Verse satire was scathing and erudite, Menippean satire exhibited ribaldry and poetic indulgence.  Even parody, satire’s cousin, shares the collection’s silliness and generic inversion.  The Historia Augusta demonstrates traces of all these genres but defies a precise label.  To analyze its satiric content, we need to determine the commonalities of satire and explore their role in the Historia Augusta. These generic tropes are a fixation on the quotidian, narrative ambiguity, and a central critique that ultimately leaves the reader in a state of aporia.  These elements pervade the Historia Augusta and make it a generic pastiche, nominally biography but fundamentally satiric. The Historia Augusta exhibits quotidian themes in its delight at demonstrating the sexual and gastronomic depravities of its emperors; in its constant puns and humor; and in its parody of biography, which emphasizes the personal over the political.  The many inventions, both about itself and its subjects, imbue the text with deep ambiguity.  These prove the presence of satire but not its meaning.  The Historia Augusta briefly treats religion, but its aporetic effect is minimal compared with politics.  There one sees ineffectual and corrupt emperors, a senate capable only of abject servility, and no hope for change.  Devoting a work to meaningless institutions fosters aporia, but the Historia Augusta does not wallow.  Given this inexorable cycle of futility, it offers a satiric solution: laughter.
General Note:
In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note:
Includes vita.
Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description:
Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description:
This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Shawn G Daniels.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2013.
Adviser: Pagan-Wolpert, Victoria Emma.

Record Information

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Applicable rights reserved.
lcc - LD1780 2013
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2 2013 Shawn Gaius Daniels


3 Matri meae


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First, I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Victoria Pagn When I began to read the Historia Augusta in the Summer of 2010 I was struck most by its humor Dr. Pagn recommended that I turn to Northrop Frye and his Anatomy of Criticism to find a theoretical basis on which to understand the role of humor and it is there that I found a definition of satire that took me on the road to the present work A large portion of the bibliography and the majority of the organizational structure came from the many conversations we held over the past three years Wit hout h er unflagging support and invaluable advice this projec t would not have been completed I owe many thanks to Dr. Trevor Luke of Florida State University He found time, even at conferences, to speak with me individually about my research once even driving down from Tallahassee to discuss a rough draft he had read the week before His penetrating questions and moral support have kept me critical of my own work I would also like to thank the other members of my committee, Dr. Andrew Wolpert, Dr. Kost as Kapparis, and Dr. Terry Harpold for sparing their time to help see that I accomplish this task. I would like to thank several former teachers and professor s for helping bring me to this point Dr. Jeannette Marchand taught me how to be a proper scholar who could indentify flaws in my own thinking and accept criticism from others Dr. Bruce Laforse let me create an independent study and then served as the instructor for a year when the department could not fund an upp er level Greek course Dr. Rebecca Edwards helped demystify the process of writing academic papers She is also the one who recommended that I apply to the University of Florida when I began looking at graduate schools Dr. Robert Hatch gave me constant ma terial and mental support and


5 introduced me to a fascinating era of the Latin language even later than that of the Historia Augusta Mr. Jeff Mesko was the first to introduce me to the Latin language, and it was his enthusiasm and sense of fun that convinc ed me to pursue the Classics as a field Finally, Mrs. Linda Breidenbach recommended, as far back as the fourth grade, that I take Latin in high school I am happy that I took her advice. I must thank the various friends and acquaintances who have ensured that my sanity remained (relatively) intact o ver my years in graduate school, the colleagues who have supported my preposterous effort to rehabilitate the Historia Augusta and my family, who have cheered me on from afar Above all, I want to thank all those who own, operate and frequent the Midnight It has proven a haven countless times, providing refuge and support in all my various trials in Gainesvile. Most of all, I wish to thank my mother, who has given me all the love and encouragement I have n eeded and more I could not even conceive of being where I am right now if not for her This dissertation is a testament to everyone who has influenced me, and thus my research.


6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................. 4 LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................ 8 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ............................................................................................. 9 ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................... 11 INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................... 13 The Historia Augusta .............................................................................................. 13 Date ........................................................................................................................ 15 Authorship ............................................................................................................... 22 Purpose .................................................................................................................. 25 Historical Setting ..................................................................................................... 27 SATIRE AND THE HISTORIA AUGUSTA .................................................................... 33 Biography and History ............................................................................................. 34 Academic Approaches to Satire .............................................................................. 40 Formal Satire .......................................................................................................... 43 Menippean Satire .................................................................................................... 51 Parody .................................................................................................................... 57 The Satiric ............................................................................................................... 59 FOOD, SEX, AND JOKES ............................................................................................ 61 Food ........................................................................................................................ 61 Catalogues .............................................................................................................. 66 Sex .......................................................................................................................... 68 Humor ..................................................................................................................... 76 NARRATIVE AMBIGUITY ............................................................................................. 86 Internal Ambiguity ................................................................................................... 87 Intermediate Ambiguity ........................................................................................... 93 External Ambiguity .................................................................................................. 95 RELIGION IN THE HISTORIA AUGUSTA .................................................................. 114 Christianity in the Vita Alexandri Severi ................................................................ 118 Christianity in the Rest of the Historia Augusta ..................................................... 123 Deification ............................................................................................................. 127


7 Sacrifice ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 132 Divination ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 139 The Importance of Religion? ................................ ................................ ................. 144 POLITICAL APORIA ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 145 Nomen Antoninorum ................................ ................................ ............................. 148 Child Emperors ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 159 Senatorial Acclamations ................................ ................................ ....................... 165 CONCLUSIONS ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 174 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 181 BIOGRAPH ICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 190


8 LIST OF TABLES Table p age 1 1 Important data concerning the Historia Augusta ................................ ................ 32


9 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS A EL Aelius A LEX S EV Alexander Severus A MM M ARC Ammianus Marcellinus A NT P IUS Antoninus Pius A UR V ICT Aurelius Victor A UREL Aurelianus A VID C ASS Avidius Cassius C ARAC Caracallus (Caracalla) C ARUS Carus et Carinus et Numerianus C ASS D IO Cassius Dio C IC Cicero C LAUD Claudius C LOD A LB Clodius Albinus C OMM Commodus D IAD Diadumenus (Diadumenianus) D ID I UL D idius Iulianus E LAGAB Elagabalus (Heliogabalus) G ALL Duo Gallieni G ORD Tres Gordiani HA Historia Augusta H ADR Hadrianus H EROD Herodian H OR Horace I.G. Inscriptiones Graecae


10 J UST Justin J USTIN Justinian J UV Juvenal M ACR Macrinus M ARC Marcus Aurelius M AX Maximus et Balbinus M AXIMIN Duo Maximini OLD Oxford Latin Dictionary P ERS Persius P ERT Pertinax P ESC N IG Pescennius Niger P ROB Probus Q UAD T YR Quadrigae Tyrannorum (Firmus, Saturninus, Proculus, and Bonosus) S EV Septimius Severus S UET Suetonius T AC Tacitus (Historian) T ACIT Tacitus (Emperor) T YR T RIG Tyranni Triginta (The Thirty Tyrants) V AL Duo Valeriani V ERG Vergil


11 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Par tial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy SATIRE IN THE HISTORIA AUGUSTA By Shawn Gaius Daniels August 2013 Chair: Victoria Pagn Major: Classical Studies Dessau recognized that, despite its claims, the Historia Augusta was written towards the end of the fourth century CE by a single man T his thesis has guided almost 125 years of scholarship yet the ambiguity that permeates the Historia Augusta has left it without a fitting, o r even coherent, interpreta tion I t has been described as panegyric for the emperor Julian, anti Christian polemic, pro pagan apology, or a trivial literary trifle that somehow survived the centuries The Historia Augusta demands a single argument that can explain its eccentricities The answer is satire. Verse satire and Menippean satire were the primary exponents of the genre in antiquity and the Historia Augusta shares much with them V erse satire was scathing and erudite Menippean satire exhibited ribaldry and poetic indulgence E ven parody, satire shares silliness and generic inversion T he Historia Augusta demonstrates traces of all these genres but defies a precise label To analyze its satiric content, we need to determine the commonalities of sati re and explore their role in the Historia Augusta These generic tropes are a fixation on the quotidian, narrative ambiguity, and a central critique that ultimately leaves the reader in a state of


12 aporia These elements pervade the Historia Augusta and make it a generic pastiche nominally biography but fundamentally satiric. The Historia Augusta exhibits q uotidian themes in its delight at demonstrating the sexual and gastronom ic depravities of its emperors; in its constant puns and humor; and in its parody of biography, which emphasizes the personal over the political The many inventions, bot h about itself and its subjects, imbue the Historia Augusta with deep ambiguity These prove the presence of satire but not its meaning The Historia Augusta briefly treats religion, but its aporetic effect is minimal compared with politics There one sees ineffectual and corrupt emperors, a senate capable only of abject servility, and no hope for change Devoting a work to meaningless institutions fosters aporia but the Historia Augusta does not wallow It offers a novel solution to this inexorable cycle of futility : laughter.


13 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The Historia Augusta An analysis of the satiric elements in the Historia Augusta clarifies many of the long standing problems that plague this 4 th century CE collection of biographies Although long viewed as h aphazard biography or inferior history, the Historia Augusta uses elements of different satiric genres to hyperbolize the absurdities of its era If one recognizes that the lies and exaggerations that fill the Historia Augusta lend it a satiric tone, then it becomes possible to appreciate it on its own terms as a critique of the social and political collapse in the late fourth century. The collection, attributed to six authors who wrote at the turn of the fourth century, 1 contains biographies of the empero rs Hadrian through Carinus and Numerianus, although it might have included lives of Nerva and Trajan. 2 Before lological puzzle They freely emended the (admittedly problematic) text or mined the collection for whatever historical facts they could find, accepting what was not patently false. 3 Yet similarities 1 Following the convention of Syme 1968, I will refer to the invented authors with double quotes. The six authors and their vitae Hadriani Aelii Didii Iuliani Severi Pescennii Nigrii Caracalli Getae Anto ninii Pii Marci Aurelii Veri Pertinacis Clodii Albini Opilii Macrini Duorum Maximinorum Trium Gordianorum Maximi et Balbini Avidii Cassii Commodi Diadumeniani Elagabali Alexandri Severi Duorum Valerianorum Duorum Gallienorum Tyrannorum Triginta Claudii Aureliani Taciti Probi Quadrigarum Tyrannorum Cari et Carini et Numeriani 2 If the work is a continuation of Suetonius, then it should begin with Nerv a. No trace of these biographies survive, however, and the theory on which their existence rests is speculative; see Momigliano 1954, 24; Meckler 1996. 3 E.g., Richter 1850, Mommsen 1878, Cornelissen 1883. Ballou 1914 summarizes the nature of early scholarship on the Historia Augusta and many of the textual problems. See Table 1 1 for a summary of contents.


14 exist within this supposedly heterogeneous group that d eserved more careful examination The first group of biographies, up to Elagabalus, follows a rough pattern of biography and subsidiary biography or Nebenvita the life of the full emperor, styled Augustus followed by a biography of a secondary Augustus or an emperor designate, given the title of Caesar 4 The main series vitae are generally factual, but after the Vita Elagabali fabrications begin to predominate Paradoxically, this stark difference in historicity prevented an y challenges on the apparent date and authorship of the work It looks like a haphazard compilation of mediocre biographies Dessau revolutionized the study of the Historia Augusta by suggesting that a single man wrote the work almost a century after its apparent date All subsequent scholarship has emanated from Historia Augusta : 1) When was it composed? 2) How many men wrote it? 3) What was its purpose? While others have answered the first two questions, I will p rovide a brief history of the problems to support the foundation on which my dissertation will rest This project will focus on the third question. Much modern scholarship still draws from the Historia Augusta whatever historical nuggets its outrageous bi ographies contain. 5 Its value lies in its coverage of the Crisis of the Third C entury, a tumultuous period which few other sources discuss As a consequence, the inherent attributes of the collection its lies, its humor, its literary character have recei ved little attention One need only look at the state of the Historia 4 Syme 1971, 54 77. The information for the Nebenv itae comes almost entirely from the preceding biography. Syme 1968, 175 6, argues that the Vita Veri lived co regent, should not be relegated among the inferior lives. 5 E.g., Jones 1964, 37 76; Barnes 1967; Baldwin 1985; Burgess 1993; McLynn 1996, 316; Alston 1994, 114; Linderski 2003, 253 5.


15 Augusta Colloquium : once dedicated exclusively to the biographies, it has now broadened its scope to Late A ntiquity generally to compensate for the decline in interest in its namesake. 6 This indifference is the largest gap in modern scholarship on the Historia Augusta and one which this project will begin to bridge. Date The Historia Augusta claims a composition under the reigns of Diocletian and Constantine (284 337 CE) directly address both emperors and offer dedications to notable men of the early fourth century. 7 Befor e Dessau, nobody questioned these claims Dessau, however, noted a number of peculiar features First, passionate praise of Constantius Chlorus, which Dessau argued could not occur until after his principate ended in 306 CE; 8 second, the use of Eutropius and Victor as sources; 9 and finally, nomina which belonged to families only prominent in the late fourth century recur throughout the lives. 10 The most important of these indications is Vita Probi towards the end of the collection in resurgence for the Probus family although his age has not yet seen it. 11 In Late A ntiquity, many men named Probus began to hold high positions in 6 Rohrbacher 2011. 7 Magie 1921, xi xv details the attributions. 8 Dessau 1889, 339 44. 9 Dessau 1889, 361 74 argues against the use of a common source. 10 Dessau 1889, 374 8. 11 D essau 1889, 355 9. HA, Prob. 24, Posteri Probi vel odio vel invidiae timore Romanam rem fugerunt et in Italia circa Veronam ac Benacum et Larium atque in his regionibus larem locaverunt. sane quod praeterire non potui, cum imago Probi in Veronensi sita ful mine icta esset ita ut eius praetexta colores mutaret, haruspices responderunt huius familiae posteros tantae in senatu claritudinis fore ut omnes summis honoribus fungerentur. sed adhuc neminem vidimus, posteri autem aeternitatem videntur habere non modum of ill will, and set themselves in Italia, around Verona and Benacus and Larium and in these areas. I could


16 government and society, bearing out the prophecy Dessau recognized that the prophecy could not have been so accurate by chance it must have been written after the renaissance of the great family, which did not begin until the last third of the fourth century All indications suggest that the biographies were composed well into the fourth century CE, long after the traditional date. n subjective l iterary criticism but used his knowledge of the prosopography of the later empire to demolish the traditional date of the Historia Augusta Nevertheless, his article sparked an immediate controversy among contemporary scholars Seeck and v on Domaszewski so ught to place the Historia Augusta even later; Wlfflin tried to disprove Dessau 12 Mommsen gave the most important response Although he acknowledged that Dessau had incontrovertibly proven the existence of post Constantinian traces in the Historia Augusta he could not reconcile such innovation with the long standing tradition He challenged Dessau by providing his own textual analysis; whereas Dessau focused on prosopography, Mommsen examined the collections usage of military titles and concluded that the biographies must have dated to the reigns of Diocletian and Constantine. 13 Furthermore, the Historia Augusta uses the term aureus for gold coins, yet Constantine minted a new coin, called the solidus 14 If, as Dessau argued, the not fail to mention this: when the image of Probus, whic h had been set up at Verona, had been struck by a lightning bolt, such that his toga praetexta changed colors, the soothsayers said that the descendants of this family would be of such great fame in the senate that they would all perform the highest office s. We indicated, the Latin text of the Historia Augusta volume Loeb edition (1921, 1924, 1932); translations are my own. 12 Seeck 1912, vo n Domaszewski 1918, Wlfflin 1891. 13 Mommsen 1890, 231 42. 14 Jones 1964, 438 48.


17 biographies were written lon g after the introduction of the solidus one would expect to find that term denoting gold coins; since Mommsen found that aureus predominated, he believed that the biographies must have predated the new mint. 15 Yet this still did not resolve the Theodosian traces which Dessau identified To solve the dilemma, Mommsen conceived of two editors who compiled the Historia Augusta after the putative composition of the biographies The first editor brought the various vitae together and interpolated his own comment s, giving Mommsen an explanation for the stylistic similarities which existed across the six authors; the second Redacteur wrote under the emperor Theodosius. 16 He inserted the Probus Oracle and features belonging to the end of the fourth century, and thus Mommsen explained the Theodosian traces which Dessau proved Though a tendentious argument, it managed to uphold the core of the conservative view. Neither Dessau nor Mommsen predominated at first, but i n time the progressive arguments of Dessau began to eclipse those of Mommsen Dessau had the advantage of explaining every peculiarity of the lives with a simple, albeit unorthodox, thesis Mommsen, meanwhile, ignore s the fraudulent nature of the Historia Augusta when it abounds in lies, why should it conc ern itself with the minutiae of numismatics or military titles? 17 The theory of the Redacteurs is hard to maintain Although Mommsen argues 15 Mommsen 1890, 242 3. 16 Mommsen 1890, 273 8. 17 Mommsen 1890, 242 3 notes two mentions of solidi : HA, Alex Sev sed cum non potuisset per publicas necessitates, confl ari eos iussit et tremisses tantum solidosque formari unable [to mint quarter aurei ] because of the needs of the state, he ordered them to be melted down, and for only third aurei and solidi atque ex eo his materiae n omen inditum est, cum diceret plus largiendi hanc esse imperatori causam, si, cum multos solidos minores dare possit, dans decem vel amplius una forma triginta et quadraginta et centum dare cogeretur irculation], they were given the name of their material, since he said that it was an inducement to the emperor to bestow greater largesses if, when he could give many smaller solidi by


18 for the conservative argument better than any other scholar of the Historia Augusta he cannot challenge the elegance none could doubt the falsehood of the traditional date; nevertheless, conservative scholars wanted to retain as much as they could Magie agreed wit h Dessau that the Historia Augusta could not belong to early decades of the fourth century, yet rejected the Theodosian dating. 18 Likewise, Baynes argued for a compromise date, the mid fourth century, and declared that the Historia Augusta was an encomium t o the emperor Julian. 19 Instead, he imposed a political interpretation which required a mid fourth cent ury date Although his book offers insight into some motifs which recur throughout the biographies and rescues the Historia Augusta from the literary Kloake into which Mommsen cast it, 20 the thesis does not hold. The 1960s saw a renewed interest in pinpoin composition Cameron found seven allusions to Juvenal scattered throughout the Historia Augusta 21 giving ten or more in one coin he would be forced to give thirty, and these too are traces of the Theodosian editor. 18 Magie 1924, vii viii, xxx xxxi. 19 Baynes 1926, 18. 20 Baynes 1926, 110. For the Historia Augusta 21 Cameron 1964: Juv. 15.63 5, compare with HA, Tyr. Trig 22; Juv. 3.76 8 compare with HA, Hadr 16, Quad. Tyr 8; Juv. 12.106 7 compare with HA, Aurel 5; Juv. 12.101 compare with Tacit 12; Juv. 10.177 compare with Claud 6; Juv. 1.79 compare with Macr 11.4. Cameron 1964, 367 claims to have found other, less obvious citations.


19 much of the principate but enjoyed a revival of popularity at the end of the fourth century. 22 comparing the names in the Historia Augusta not only to inscriptions, but also to a dateable literary work: the History of Ammianus Marcellinus Syme first established he appears to have completed Book 25 by 392 CE 23 then demonstrated at length that, in the Quadrigae Tyrannorum the Historia A ugusta betrays a number of parallels with Book 15 of Ammianus. 24 In these passages, the author invents persons who, according to surviving records from the early fourth century, do not exist These fabrications have odd similarities to actual events in Ammi anus To cite one example, Ammianus mentions a banquet held by a certain Africanus, governor of Pannonia, at which guests discussed with hope a prophecy of governmental change and were subsequently arrested for their overly free speech. 25 The Historia Augus ta 22 Cameron 1964, 367 9; Cameron 2011, 399 420. Amm. Marc. 28.4, remarks that Juvenal is one of the popular texts among the upper classes of Rome: Quidam detestantes ut venena doctr inas, Iuvenalem et Marium Maximum curatiore studio legunt, nulla volumina praeter haec in profundo otio contrectantes dealing with no texts besides thes 23 Syme 1968, 22. 24 Syme 1968, 25 71, summary on 68. 25 Amm. Marc. 15.3.7 9, inter has quaestionum suppliciorumque species diras, in Illyrico exoritur alia clades, ad multorum pericula ex verborum inanitate progressa. In convi vio Africani, Pannoniae secundae rectoris, apud Sirmium poculis amplioribus madefacti quidam, arbitrum adesse nullum existimantes, licenter imperium praesens ut molestissimum incusabant; quibus alii optatam permutationem temporum adventare, veluti e praesa giis affirmabant, non nulli maiorum augurio sibi portendi, incogitabili dementia promittebant. E quorum numero comitatum principis ita acriter inflammavit, ut sine deliberatione ulla Africanus, et omnes letalis mensae participes, iuberentur rapi sublimes inquisitions and executions, there arose in Illyricum another doom which went to the point of endangering many because of the foolishness of their words. At a banquet held by Africanus, rector of Pannonia Secunda, certain men m ade drunk by excessively full cups, thinking that no judge was present, freely criticized their current regime as extremely vexing; some of them, as though giving an oracle, declared that the hoped for change would come in time, yet others with unbelievabl e foolishness vowed that it was


20 meanwhile, in the controversial Letter of Hadrian (one of the many forgeries in the collection), 26 records the emperor sending wine cups to a friend, but advising him to 27 The name Africanus saw lit tle Historia Augusta did not invent but borrowed, perhaps unconsciously, from the greater historian The agglomeration of biograp hies, and thus a terminus post quem of the late fourth century CE. A date at or around 395 has taken hold in studies of the Historia Augusta T he introduction to the Vita Probi echo es Vita Hilarionis dated to the 390. 28 29 He rejects the idea that allusions in the text must point to the last decade of the fourth century, unconvinced by the evidence for the later authors who are thought to appear. 30 He also points out that many of the historical events to which the Historia Augusta supposedly alludes were not exclusive to 390s, but to the latter half of the fourth century generally The Probus Oracle predicts resurgence for the Probus family which Se xtus Petronius Probus had fulfilled by 371. 31 The critique of child emperors, a motif of the Historia prophesied to them by an ancestral oracle. From among their number, an informer so bitterly outraged the attendants of the emperor that, without any hearing, Africanus and all those who shared in the fatal meal were ordered 26 Syme 1968, 60 5. 27 HA, Quad. Tyr 8.10, ... caveas tamen ne his Africanus noster indulgenter utatur 28 Barnes 1991, 19 28. 29 d and polemical depiction of the history of Late Antique scholarship. 30 Cameron 2011, 746 50. 31 Cameron 2011, 773.


21 Augusta readily applies to Gratian, who was sole Augustus in the west in 375, when he was only sixteen. 32 Most importantly, he argues that scholars have ad hered to 395 to support the notion that the Historia Augusta was fourth century. 33 Given that he has proven this reaction to be a literary fiction the arguments for the date of the Historia Augusta that start from t hat point also begin to erode argument for the view that the Historia Augusta must date from around 395 CE, but his literary arguments are less persuasive He assumes that an author learned enough to cite authors as diverse own fraudulence. 34 Yet this assumes that the author wished to hide his identity His lengthiest argument attempts to establish the priority of the Histo ria Augusta to Vita Hilarionis by careful comparison of the texts with their common source, Pro Archia 24. 35 Cameron argues that, because the Historia Augusta more closely follows Cicero than Jerome, even though both share the same departures from 32 Cameron 2011, 751. 33 Cameron 2011, 745. 34 Cameron 2011, 748. 35 Cameron 2011, 764 70. The most important passage for this purpose is Cic., P ro Arch ia 24, atque tumulus, qui corpus eius contexerat, nomen eius obruisset Compare with HA, Prob 1, inde est quod Alexander Magnus Macedo, cum ad Achillis sepulchrum venisset, graviter ingemescens "Felicem te," inquit, "iuvenis, qui talem praeconem tuarum virtutum repperisti," Homerum intellegi volens, qui Achillem qualem non habent bella Punica, non terror Gallicus ; Jerome, Vit a Hil arionis 1, Alexander Magnus Macedo, quem vel aes vel par dum vel hircum caprarum Daniel vocat, cum ad Achillis tumulus significans. porro mihi tanti ac talis viri conversatio vitaque dicendaque est, ut Homerus qu oque, si adesset, vel invideret materiae vel succumberet.


22 Vita Hilarionis must have used the Historia Augusta as a source Others have suggested that the Historia Augusta may have compared Jerome and C icero, but given the complete mystery of the composition of the Historia Augusta it is impossible to prove. 36 The exact date of the Historia Augusta will never be decisively known The latest unambiguous reference Cameron grants is Aurelius Victor, writing in 361; Paschoud, challenging this interpretation, identifies a terminus post quem of 369. 37 No one can rule out a significantly later date The a rguments that place the Historia Augusta in the provide a useful counterpoint to t he prevailing scholarly view but still need development to surpass the past century of analysis Thus, for the purposes of this study, I will follow Syme in dating the Historia Augusta to roughly 395 CE. Authorship A related problem is the authorship of the collection The biographies claim six vitae of emperors than those attributed to them in the Historia Augusta 38 How, then, did the 36 Chastagnol 1970, 12 13; den Hengst 1981, 124 5; Barnes 1991, 25. 37 Paschoud 2012, 380 places the terminus post quem at 369. 38 HA, Prob. 2.7 8, et mihi quidem id animi fuit ut non Sallustios, Li vios, Tacitos, Trogos atque omnes disertissimos imitarer viros in vita principum et temporibus disserendis, sed Marium Maximum, Suetonium Tranquillum, Fabium Marcellinum, Gargilium Martialem, Iulium Capitolinum, Aelium Lampridium ceterosque, qui haec et ta lia non tam diserte quam vere memoriae tradiderunt d indeed, it has been my intention to follow not the Sallusts, Livies, Troguses, and all the most learned men in composing the life and times of the emperors, but Marius Maximus, Suetonius Tranquillus, Fabius Marcellinus, Gargilius Martialis, Julius Capitolinus, Aelius Lampridius, and the others who have handed these and other things


23 compilation emerge? And why did some individual authors have a twenty year gap between their dedications? Why did six different men s hare such idiosyncratic features, like the repetition of unusual phrases and a fondness for puns and other light verbal humor? Dessau noted a number of similar traits recurrent throughout many the authors: identical phrasing when describing the appetites of a biographical subject, exhortations for the reader to turn elsewhere for cumbersome historical details, and puns on the names of the emperors. 39 The details, although minor, accumulate such that it is likely a single hand composed the biographies Yet t his argument, unlike his argument for the date, had doubts Again, Mommsen provided the earliest and most important response In addition to the Theodosian Redacteur Mommsen also suggested a second editor, this one shortly after the death of Constantine, who compiled and edited the biographical collections of the six authors into the present collection As the editor selected the lives which would make up the Historia Augusta he interpolated his own comments, giving the biographies their stylistic similar ities. 40 One need not dwell too long here, except to say that this theory, too, perished in time. Baynes did not argue directly for either single or plural authorship, since it had no bearing on his ultimate thesis. 41 He revealed his underlying assumption s at the end of his book, however, with a potential scenario for the creation of the Historia Augusta : two men, one writing a series of popular biographies, another wishing to flatter the emperor Julian; the latter asks the former to interpolate propagandi stic passages and secure 39 Dessau 1889, 381 90. 40 Mommsen 1890, 273 8. 41 Baynes 1926, 73.


24 patronage for both. 42 Although Baynes dismissed this explanation for the composition of the biographies, it nevertheless betrays his assumptions on authorship. e argument: not just stylistic similarities, but the countless lies and fabrications that occur in all six authors carry an air of scholasticism and reveal a single, playful intelligence behind the whole collection. 43 y support the older theory; his concluding thought on the problem? master hand 44 More recent articles in support of the unitarian thesis offer refinements to 45 One, however, deserves specific mention In 1979, using Historia Augusta lexical analyses In one analysis, by examining the number of words that appear in the sentences (defining Historia Augusta ), 46 Marriott found that the early vitae regardless of author, all plot similarly, while their compan ion subsidiary lives and the later biographies share similarities in style They also plot differently against control compositions. 47 This makes sense, for early vitae depended upon reliable sources, while the other two classes are 42 Baynes 1926, 145 9. 43 Syme 1968, 176 91. 44 Syme 1968, 180. 45 E.g., White 1967, Adams 1972, Schwartz 1981. 46 Marriott 1979, 66. 47 Marriott 1979, 68 71.


25 The second analysis examines the sentence structure, plotting how frequently the authors use different types of words at the end of each sentence The authors plot almost identically to one another but differ significantly from the control authors, Ammianu s and Aurelius Victor, which lends further credence to single authorship. 48 Sansone challenged Marriott twenty years later by pointing out that, since the manuscripts have no punctuation, the computer models only show that the edition of the Historia August a in question had one editor He only cited limited instances of different editors punctuating the Historia Augusta differently, however, and no one now doubts the unitarian thesis. 49 Few have ventured to identify the author of the Historia Augusta Syme surmised a grammaticus playing in his idle hours. 50 The name Nicomachus Flavianus has appeared, with some favor. 51 For the purposes of this project, I will assume the single author, although I will forgo attempts to identify or disprove the identity of the a uthor; this study will follow the modern scholarly consensus and assume a single author, but it will primarily examine the effect of his work, for which an understanding of his general milieu (identifiable by his seeming pro senatorial tendencies) will suf fice. Purpose the purpose of the Historia Augusta has never been satisfactorily treated or examined Dessau, like previous scholars, thought the biographies mere bad history; he added the 48 Marriott 1979, 71 4. 49 Sansone 1990. 50 Syme 1968, 205 10. 51 Hartke 1940; Demougeot 1953, 361 82; Chastagnol 1994, clii.


26 twist that the author falsified the date and pluralized the authorship to give his shoddy composition the veneer of credibility and a greater marketability. 52 ire book attempts to make the Historia Augusta a panegyric of Julian the Apostate. 53 He argues that it is masked propaganda for Julian, since the characteristics of individual emperors It is supposed to culminate in the Vita Al exandri Severi which combines them all His thesis fails to convince, although his argument that the Historia Augusta has a special hatred for child emperors is insightful. 54 A popular trend in 20 th century scholarship has been to argue that the Historia Au gusta is covert pagan polemic or a plea to the Christian elite for toleration. 55 Neither of these arguments convince, for they presuppose a level of animosity between paganism and Christianity that has been overstated and they ignore the deep ambivalence t hat permeates the Historia Augusta The most persuasive arguments come from Syme and Cameron The former notes that many of the lexical oddities which pepper the biographies fit the mindset of a grammarian or a scholiast: elaborate lists of luxuries, numer ous puns, stylistic sympathies with Servius and the Juvenalian scholia. 56 While focusing upon the questions of date and authorship, Syme nev er abandons a quest for meaning T o him, the work stands as the idle amusement of a Cameron sums up the confusion and messiness with complete 52 Irgend eine Tendenz verfolgen diese Flschungen 376. 53 Baynes 1926, 18. 54 Bayne s 1926, 57 8. 55 E.g., Straub 1963, Alfldi 1964. See also Fundling 2006, 47 52; Cameron 2011, 745. 56 Syme 1968, 176 92.


27 HA was a frivolous, ignorant person with no 57 Both men strike at important truths about the Historia Augusta while making the error of attrib uting purpose and motivation to an unknown figure he wrote, for he mocks both himself and the entire historical tradition. 58 nihilism, although overly critical, shares sympathies with the bleak view of the state of human affairs A satirical spirit lies at the heart of the Historia Augusta which the present study will expose Historical Setting The obscur ity and misdirection which envelops the Historia Augusta extends even to the era of its composition: neither antique nor medieval, neither pagan nor Christian, and poorly attested The narrative ends before the accession of Diocletian (284 CE), whose perso nal charisma and reorganizational efforts helped stabilize the empire after the so He carved the empire into manageable bureaucratic slices, appointed a second Augustus to help him rule, and designated two Caesares to succeed him and his co regent Diocletian did not solve all the problems facing Rome, but he offered peace during his reign and was the first emperor in decades to die in his bed Soon, the system broke down Diocletian resigned in 305 CE, compelling his c o Augustus to lay down his position as well The Caesares Constantius and Galerius, became Augusti and new Caesares were appointed, biologically unrelated to either of the new emperors This decision, designed to end a 57 Cameron 2011, 781. 58 Syme 1968, 206 8.


28 century of civil wars, instead creat ed instability Constantius appointed his son Constantine as Augustus after his death, bypassing the appointed Caesar ; Constantine was removed, but to avoid war, Galerius grudgingly agreed to make him the Caesar The new scheme for the empire would not la st Soon, a new civil war erupted: Augustus reassumed the purple after his son, Maxentius, declared himself emperor When Galerius died, Constantine forged an alliance with Gaius Licinius to battle Maxentius; when he was defeated, Const antine soon turned against Licinius and emerged sole ruler of the Roman Empire (325 CE). 59 He also emerged a Christian and declared Rome a Christian empire Although paganism was still officially tolerated, it lost its official sanction and prestige Constantine was succeeded by his three sons, each of whom took their own share of the empire, with chaotic results: civil bloodline still remained, Julian He had alrea dy proven himself a capable administrator in the west, and his surviving literary output testifies to his intellect He also attempted to restore the old gods to their former esteem within the empire, a radical departure from the intolerant reigns of Const His brief reign and untimely death are well documented by the historian Ammianus Marcellinus, but his greatest accomplishment may be in buying paganism a few decades of tolerance before Christianity cracked down and crimin alized the old religion. Valentinian, a rustic but tolerant and capable ruler, spl it the empire with his brother Valens, taking the Western half for himself and giving the eastern half to Valens When Valens died in 379, 59 Jones 1964, 77 83.


29 the eastern empire was given to Theodosius, who gained nominal rule in 383 when the Once again, the paucity of rulers created a vacuum which the ambitious sought to fill; Theodosius fended o ff two usurpers in the West, Magnus Maximus in 388 and Eugenius in 394 Theodosius died five months later, but in his sixteen years of rule he set the cultural tone that would ripen into the Middle Ages Although paganism was not banned, all sacrifice thro ughout the empire was Theodosius also oversaw the destruction of a number of pagan temples, including the Serapeum in Egypt, considered one of the wonders of the world. 60 Christianity had established its dominance. one, both as evangelistic as their late father. 61 Although history would prove the security of the Theodosian reign, at least in the short term, no contemporary could see that future The previous decades and centuries had seen the repeated collapse and ren ewal of imperial rule, a constant cycle of good, bad, and psychotic emperors Pagans had found their rights and religion brief reign restoring to them any official sa nction representative of his entire class, the death of Julian must have been devastating to pagan morale. 60 Jones 1964. For its grandeur, Amm. Marc. 22.16, His accedunt altis sufflata fastigiis templa, inter quae eminet Serapeum, quod licet minuatur exilitate verborum, atriis tamen columnatis amplissim s, et spirantibus signorum figmentis, et reliqua operum multitudine ita est exornatum, ut post Capitolium, quo se venerabilis Roma in aeternum attollit, nihil orbis terrarum ambitiosius cernat temples proud with high peaks, among which shines the Serapeum, which, although it is diminished by the cheapness of words, nevertheless is so adorned with the grandest co lumned atria, and breathing figures of statues, and with every variety of work that, after the Capitoline, by which ancient Rome makes itself 61 Jones 1964, 170 82.


30 The emperor was absolute ruler, but he was not omnipotent. 62 By Late Antiquity, power was diffused across three continent s; a local magnate or a severe storm held the emp e ror or senate The gradual translation of power from Rome to Constantinople, which effectively created a second eastern empire, reflects the decentralization of the time Most citizens lived at a distance from the emperor Even in major cities like Antioch, which the emperor frequently visited, the day to day power rested with a massive city council. 63 Court intrigues had no place in a farming village of Gaul; high lev el affairs meant less than the historical emphasis on the The psychology of the late empire was also complicated T he empire was still a symbolic body to people ; w hen communities needed aid, they would turn to the hands of the emperor in the provinces, his local magistrates and the further from the emperor, the more local they became 64 F or most life did not expand outside their village The spirituality of the Late Antique mindset was well suited to this secular change: the he avenly realm began to predominate in thoughts perhaps a natural corollary to the decreasing mundanity of religion. 65 Outside of war and the machinations of the court, the power of the emperor was practically negligible. Yet people still saw the empire a major locus of power in their lives When a community needed something adjudicated with no appeal the emperor was the figure to whom they appealed and to whom they offered their thanks. A n odd dichotomy arises: the 62 Brown 1978, 4 7, 23 6. 63 Bro wn 1992, 12. 64 Brown 1992, 9 11. 65 Brown 1978, 17.


31 emperor had little effective p ower over the daily life of his subjects, and that came to mean less as concern for this world was translated into the next. But when crisis and strife arose in the mundane realm, the emperor was still the traditional power to which one appealed. The rise of a more personal spirituality combined with the dimi ni shing importance of the emperor suggests that citizens of the empire should have turned inward to solve their problems, but the imperial edifice continued to nurse their dependency. The hypocrisy of t his contrast may reveal the attitudes that informed the satire of the Historia Augusta In a time of crisis, a functionally independent people would turn to institutions that had proven incompetent. The response to this illogical cult of empire is the Historia Augusta a work that maligns the government at every turn. To demonstrate the satiric principles of the Historia Augusta we will first explore the nature of ancient satire and its relation to this collection of biographies (Chapter 2). This investigation yields the key elements that suffuse all genres of satire: quotidian themes, narrative ambiguity, and moral exploration An identification of the p resence an d character of the first two elements (Chapter 3, Chapter 4) demonstrates the positive presence of satire within the Historia Augusta It is then possible to analyze the role that satire plays in the Historia Augusta by considering two of its maj or themes: religion (Chapter 5) and politics (Chapter 6). Seeing that the main effect of the Historia Augusta is not to impart biographical fact but to ridicule the imperial power structure, both the empire and the senate, we can create a more productive a nd interesting reading for this vexing collection.


32 Table 1 1. Important data concerning the Historia Augusta Biography "Author" Emperor(s) Covered Reign(s) Vita Hadriani Hadrian 117 138 Vita Aelii Aelius N/A Vita Antonini Pii Antoninus Pius 138 161 Vita Marci Aurelii Marcus Aurelius 161 180 Vita Veri Verus 161 169 Vita Avidii Cassii Avidius Cassius 175 Vita Commodi Commodus 180 192 Vita Pertinacis Pertinax 192 193 Vita Didii Juliani Didius Julianus 193 Vita Septimii Severi Septimius Severus 193 211 Vita Pescennii Nigri Pescennius Niger 193 194 Vita Clodii Albini Clodius Albinus 195 197 Vita Caracalli Caracalla 198 217 Vita Getae Geta 210 211 Vita Macrini Macrinus 217 218 Vita Diadumeniani Diadumenianus N/A Vita Elagabali Elagabalus 218 222 Vita Alexandri Severi Alexander Severus 222 235 Vita Maximinorum Maximinus Thrax, Maximus 235 238 Vita Gordianorum Gordian I, II, III 238 244 Vita Maximi et Balbini Pupienus Maximus, Balbinus 238 Vita Valerianorum Valerian I, II 253 260 Vita Gallienorum Gallienus I, II 253 268 Tyranni Triginta Thirty Pretenders 258 274 Vita Claudii Claudius 268 270 Vita Aureliani Aurelian 270 275 Vita Taciti Tacitus, Florian 275 276 Vita Probi Probus 276 282 Quadrigae Tyrannorum Firmus, Saturninus, Proculus, Bonosus 280 281 Vita Cari et Carini et Numeriani Carus, Carinus, Numerianus 282 285


33 CHAPTER 2 SATIRE AND THE HISTORIA AUGUSTA It was amid the chaos at the end of the fourth century that an unknown author composed the Historia Augusta Facing disaster with the future uncertain and history offering no comfort, he chose an unusual response : to laugh As if the sheer audacity of his fabrications were not enough (who would believe that the emperor Firmus swam with crocodiles?), he makes his laughter explicit with the word iocus and derivatives ther e of sixty one times in the entire corpus. 1 The Historia Augusta sports with the reader, laughing with and at some of the darkest times and murkiest figures in Roman history This diction evokes the world of comedy for this study especially the word ludus It appears sixty seven times, 2 meaning variously a game, a sho w, or school; 1 HA, Hadr 11.5 ( iniucundum ),12.4 ( ioculariter ), 15.12 ( iucundissimum ), 17.6 ( iocus ), 20.8 ( ioca ), 21.3 ( ioculare ), 25.9 ( iocos ); Ant. Pius 11.8 ( ioca ), 13.2 ( iucunditate ); Marc 15.1 ( iocis ); Verus 2.9 ( iocis ), 7.5 ( ioca ); Comm 10.3 ( iocis ); Sev 14.13 ( iocati ), 17.4 ( iucundam ), 22.4 ( iocorum ); Pesc. Nig. 3.5 ( iucundissimus ), 22.5 ( ioci ); Clod. Alb. 5.8 ( iocum ), 5.9 ( ioco ); Carac 1.3 ( iucunda ), 5.6 ( ioco ),10.6 ( ioco ); Geta 3.3 ( ioco ), 3.4 ( ioco ), 4.5 ( ioco ); Macr 5.7 ( iocus ), 14.4 ( iucundissimi ); Elagab 11.6 ( iocularia ), 26.6 ( iocabatur ); Alex. Sev. 37.10 ( iocus ), 38.1 ( iocus ), 44.1 ( iocis ); Maximin 4.7 ( iocatus ), 28.8 ( iucunda ); Gord 19.4 ( iocantes ), 31.4 ( iucundus ); Val 8.1 ( periucundus ); Gall. 6 .3 ( iocum ), 6.7 ( iocabatur ), 17.9 ( iocari ), 20.2 ( iucunditatem ); Tyr Trig 8.2 ( ioco ), 10.3 ( ioco ), 10.7 ( iocularis ), 31.10 ( ioco ), 33.2 ( ioco ); Aurel 2.1 ( iocando ), 11.1 ( iucundissime ), 23.3 ( iocatum ), 30.4 ( ioco ), 41.1 ( iniucundum ), 47.4 ( iucundissime ); Tacit 16.4 ( iocati ); Quad. Tyr 12.6 ( iucunda ), 13.1 ( ioco ),13.5 ( ioco ), 15.2 ( iocus ); Carus 14.2 ( ioco ), 14.3 ( iocari ), 16.8 ( iocabatur ). When spelled iuc instead of ioc 2 HA, Hadr. 3.8 ( l udos ), 8.2 ( ludos ), 9.9 ( ludis ), 19.2 ( ludos ), 23.12 ( ludos ); Marc 4.9 ( lusit ), 6.3 ( ludos ), 12.11 ( ludos ), 21.4 ( ludi ); Verus 2.9 ( ludis ), 4.6 ( lusisse ), 5.7 ( lusum ), 10.8 ( ludibria ); Avid Cass 6.3 ( luderent ); Comm 2.8 ( ludibrium ), 11.11 ( ludum ); Sev 1.3 ( ludum ), 3.5 ( ludos ), 4.6 ( conlusoribus ); Pesc. Nig 3.5 ( ludos ); Clod. Alb. 6.7 ( ludis ),12.12 ( ludicra ); Carac 1.6 ( conlusorem ), 3.7 ( ludibrium ); Macr 12.10 ( ludi ); Elagab 9.2 ( ludibrium ), 22.2 ( ludis ), 23.2 ( ludos ), 25.7 ( lusorio ); Alex. Sev. 37.6 ( Ludis Apollinaribus ), 41.5 ( luderent ), 57.1 ( ludos ), 57.6 ( ludis ); Maximin. 2.4 ( ludos ), 19.5 ( proludens ), 25.3 ( ludorum ); Gord 4.6 ( ludos ), 33.1 ( ludis ), 33.3 ( ludis ); Max 1.1 ( Ludis Apollinaribus ), 8.4 ( ludis twice), 14.2 ( ludis ); Gall 3.7 ( lud os four times; ludiariam ), 4.3 ( ludibriis ludibria ), 7.4 ( ludorum ), 8.3 ( luserunt ), 8.4 ( ludis ), 9.1 ( eludere ); Tyr. Trig 31.7 ( ludibrium ); Claud 5.5 ( ludiorum ), 11.8 ( ludo ), 13.6 ( ludicro ); Aurel 8.4 ( ludicra ), 34.6 ( ludorum ), twice); Tacit 16.3 ( allusit ); Probus 23.5 ( ludis ); Quad. Tyr 5.6 ( ludis ), 13.1 ( ludo ), 13.2 ( luderetur ), 15.1 ( lusorias ); Carus 19.1 ( ludos ), 19.2 ( eluso ), 19.3 ( ludum ), 20.2 ( ludorum twice), 20.3 ( ludos twice).


34 in the first sense, this word evokes a particular genre: satire. 3 The Roman verse satirists refer to what they do as ludere in contrast with the heavier poetry of tragedy and epic, just as biography is the lighter kin of history. 4 Verse sati rists play upon audience expectation and perception, sometimes leaving the true nature of their poetry obscure, much as the Historia Augusta misleads its readers as to its date, authorship, and content The Historia Augusta alludes to Juvenal and drops the name of the original verse satirist, Lucilius (HA, Pert 9.6) All these details suggest the presence of satire within the Historia Augusta Biography and History On the surface, the Historia Augusta is imperial biography. Imperial biograph y eschews strict historicity in favor of moral instruction. 5 Biography also emphasizes the character than his military prowess. 6 While history emphasizes social and mili tary 3 OLD s.v. ludus ; for its use in satire, Griffin 1994, 85. Usage as game/sport: HA, Marc 4.9; Verus 2.9, 4.6, 5.7, 10.8; Avid. Cass 6.3; Comm 2.8; Sev 1.3 (playing as judge); Clod Alb. 12.12; Carac 3.7; Elagab 9.2; Alex. Sev 41.5; Maximin 19.5; Gall 4.3, 8.3, 9.1; Tyr. Trig 31.7; Claud 13.6; Aurel 8.4; Tacit 16.3; Quad. Tyr 13.1 (synonymous with iocus ), 13.2; Carus 19.2. 4 Griffin 1994, 85 6: Lucilius, fr. 1039 40 W (= Warmington 1935, 338), ludo ac sermonibus Sermones 1.10.37, haec ego ludo Pers. 5.16, ingenuo ludo 5 Plut. Demetrius will be more eager for the better both as watchers and imitators of lives, if we should not be ignorant of 6 Plut. Alexander we write histories, but lives, nor a there altogether a demonstration of virtue or w ickedness in the most outstanding deeds, but often a brief deed and word and jest made a show of character more than battles


35 manners. The Historia Augusta adheres to these biographical conventions in principle, but with a twist. Suetonius is the closest extant model for the Histor ia Augusta 7 Towards the end of the Historia Augusta Flavius older biographers, including Suetonius. 8 Of the others, only Marius Maximus seems historical; the Historia Augusta invents the rest. 9 Late calls him the most accurate of biographers, and says that one should not marvel at him, for he is naturally succinct. 10 Only Marius Maximus receives more attention. This reveals Historia Augu sta but not how it acted upon the biography. In order to understand how the Historia Augusta plays with Suetonian First, organization. Suetonius writes imperial biography, beginning wi th Julius Caesar and concluding with Domitian, shortly before his own involvement in politics begins. 11 The Historia Augusta imitates him, starting with Hadrian and detailing the 7 Momigliano 1954, 24; White 1967, 118; Syme 1968, 94 102; Bird 1971. The Historia Augusta seems to have been modeled after Suetonius and may be a continuation of his biographies. It seems also to have drawn upon Marius Maximus (Dessau 1889, 379), but since the works of that biographer are not extant, it is impossible to say. 8 HA, Prob. 2.7. 9 Bird 1971, 9. 10 HA, Quad. Tyr 1.1 2, nam et Suetonius Tranquillus, emendatissimus et candidissimus scriptor, Antonin um, Vindicem tacuit, contentus eo quod eos cursim perstrinxerat, et Marius Maximus, qui Avidium Ma rci temporibus, Albinum et Nigrum Severi non suis propriis libris sed alienis innexuit. et de Suetonio non miramur, cui familiare fuit amare brevitatem or both Suetonius Tranquillus, a most learned and frank author, was silen t on Antonius and Vindex, sa tisfied that he had mentioned them in passing, and Marius Maximus, who put Avidius in the times of Marcus, Albinus and Niger in the times of Severus, put them 11 Wallace Hadrill 1984.


36 lives of successive emperors, princes, and pretenders, concluding with Carus, Carinus, and Numerian us the immediate predecessors to Diocletian. but his style emulates the best of the Attic authors. 12 Cornelius Nepos peppered his unadorned style with attempts at rhetorical flourishes, following Greek precedent. 13 Suetonius writes directly and simply. When he transitions into the atrocities of C fa r, we have spoken about him as though he were an 14 Physical descriptions of the emperors are terse, in accordance with earlier historical method. 15 Sueton i us, imperial Minister of Letters, also had both the means and disposition to introduce legal and personal documents. 16 This was a radical departure for ancient literature, which considered such mundane items as laws and letters artless. Thus, when the Historia Augusta borrows this unique habit the reader must take note. The most important trend which runs through biography, at least for the Historia Augusta is misrepresentation. To impart their morals, biographers would arrange material thematically, not in strict chronological order. They follow ed a rough chronology for their vitae (childhood, career, death), but within these categories they 12 Carney 1960. 13 Schmeling 1971, 12. 14 Suet., Caligula 22.1, Hactenus quasi de principe, reliqua ut de monstro narranda sunt 15 Suet., Caligula 50, Statura fuit eminenti, colore expallido, corpore enormi, gracilitate maxima ceruicis et crurum, oculis et temporibus concauis, fronte lata et torua, capillo raro at circa uerticem nullo, hirsutus cetera e, pale complexion, huge body, extreme slenderness in his neck and thighs, hollow e yes and temples, a broad and grim forehead, little hair (and none on the peak), but 16 Wallace Hadrill 1984, 21.


37 illustrate d their moral with any relevant tale. When Suetonius describes the public extravagances of Caligula, he interrupts himself to describe his m ost outrageous exploit (the construction of a bridge of boats across the Bay of Baiae 17 ) without clarifying when this spectacle occurred in relation to the others. Likewise, the private affairs of great men are likely the most fraudulent, for one cannot ea sily know the deepest secrets of the powerful. Campaign codicilli trophies, and other memorials recorded success in before his mother? 18 The published works of notable figures, and even a senatus consultum 19 preserved some personal details, but in biography, others must have come from hearsay and conjecture. Biography never intended to imitate history or its faithfulness to truth. Suetonius may be pardoned for some of h is errors: an unconfirmed or unprovable anecdote may the sort of thing that person would do it gains an element of plausibility. The Historia Augusta hyperbolizes this tendency ; it is the soi l in which its satire grows. The Historia Augusta offers many improbable passages, amplifying them until the emperors become caricatures of 20 the emperor probably never uttered those exact words; however, Suetonius chose them for their verisimilitude. The Historia Augusta abandons 17 Suet., Caligula 19. 18 Suet., Tiberius esp. 44; Plut. Coriolanus 36. 19 The Senatus Consultum de Cn. Pisone confirms that Livia acted to protect the family of the condemned Piso; Eck, Caballos, and Fernandez 1996. 20 Suet., Caligula, 33, tam bona cerv ix simul ac iussero demetur


38 any pretense party in which the depraved emperor Elagaba lus, in a fit of extravagance, dumps so many flower petals upon his dining freedmen that they suffocate. 21 The plausible lie in Suetonius becomes outrageous hyperbole in the later biographer. Marius Maximus also influenced the Historia Augusta although al most all knowledge of this author comes from the Historia Augusta itself. 22 He continued Suetonius, starting with Nerva and ending with Elagabalus another Twelve Caesars He features prominently in the first half of the Historia Augusta (the more reputable part of the work 23 ), but after Elagabalus he almost disappears. 24 Historia Augusta adds to the confusion, for he concludes that most of the mentions of the earlier biographer correspond not with a serious argument or salient fact, but a salacious tale. 25 The chief factual source, 26 Trying to reconcile these facts seems insurmountable at first but an ele gant solution presents itself. 21 HA, Elagab. 21.5, oppressit in tricliniis versatilibus parasitos suos violis et floribus, sic ut animam aliq ui efflaverint, cum erepere ad summum non possent violets and flowers, such th at some breathed out their last 22 Syme 1968, 89 90, offers everything that is kno wn. 23 Syme 1968, 2; Bird 1971, 129. 24 Quad. Tyr. 1.2, quid Marius Maximus, homo omnium verbosissimus, qui et mythist[h]oricis se voluminibus inplicavit, num ad istam descriptionem curamque descendit rius Maximus, the wordiest man of all, who even wound himself up in his 25 Syme 1968, 91. 26 Syme 1968, 92 3.


39 C ontained within the DNA of biography is a strain of history. The High Empire even saw biography emerg e as the chief historical genre, and understandably so. 27 Ancient conceptions of history differ from modern sci entific history that attempts to reconstruct the past as accurately as possible. Antiquity saw history as an ethical and rhetorical genre, less concerned with strict truth than instruction. This is supported by Cicero, who offers one of the few theoretical discussions of historiography. At De Oratore 2.62 3, he offers basic principles on the composition of history: that one should tell no lies, nor hesitate to tell the truth; to betray nor favor nor bias. 28 T his passage may seem to advocate but Woodman argues that Cicero refers instead to the virtue of impartiality. Ne quid falsi and ne quid veri are parallel with gratiae and simultatis suggesting that one need not avoid untruths ab solutely, but only those that betray prejudice; the truth must be conveyed, even if it risks offense. 29 Woodman further describes the construction of history in terms of rhetorical inventio the creation of the probable or life like. 30 This device abounds th e invented speeches that pepper every historian from Herodotus to Ammianus. Historical inventio is not in principle fraudulence or forgery, however. It is the representation of what happened or what was said within the bounds of 27 Stadter 2011, 536 7; Croke 2011, 573. 28 Cic., De Oratore 2.62 3, S ed illuc redeo: videtisne, quantum munus sit oratoris historia? ... Nam quis nescit primam esse historiae legem, ne quid falsi dicere audeat? Deinde ne quid veri non audeat? Ne quae suspicio gratiae sit in scribendo? Ne quae simultatis? Haec scilicet fundamenta nota sunt omnibus the first law of history is not to dare to say anything false? Then not to fear to say anything true? That what has the hint of part iality does not appear in writing? Nor what has the hint of enmity? These are the 29 Woodman 1988, 82 3. 30 Woodman 1988, 83 101.


40 verisimilitude. A speech might be invented, but it never exceeded what was probable, and no biographer or historian of merit would deliberately falsify a victory or a defeat to further his argument. This managed invention that unites history and biography divides the m from the Historia Augusta The blatantly untrue, ahistorical tendencies of the collection move it from the realm of verisimilitude into pure fiction. It cleaves to neither ries. That vehicle is satire. Academic Approaches to Satire The precise nature of its satire however, defies simple analysis The Historia Augusta demonstrates close ties with verse satire but cannot so identified because it is a work of prose A modern s olution is needed to resolve this quandary Anatomy of Criticism identifies four modes of literature: comedy, romance, tragedy, and satire, each of which has traces of its neighboring modes (comedy has traces of romance and satire, satire traces of comedy and tragedy, etc.) The Historia Augusta demonstrates the strong est correspondences with satire. 31 Within satire are two subcategories: simple satire, which draws upon comedic themes, and irony, which borrows from tragedy Pure satire has a definite 32 Each subcategory has three phases, for a total of six phases of satire Most satiric works combine elements of the six phases The first phase is low norm satire, in which a humble man serves as a foil in a mad world. 33 The narrator of the Historia Augusta fills 31 The work contains elements of romance, but its chief traits are satiric. One could not mistake the Historia Augusta for something like the Alexander Romance much less Daphnis and Chloe 32 Frye 1957, 225. 33 Frye 1957, 226 9.


41 this role, often providing a rational counterpoint to imperial debauchery 34 The second society . This phase seldom appears in the Historia Augusta for the scope of la te empire made it difficult to find a non Roman, but it accounts for the rambling digressiveness in the Historia Augusta 35 In the third phase, high norm satire abandons reality and ventures into the fantastic, using impossible scenarios to throw human natu re into high relief. 36 Apuleius provides the classical example of this phase, using the impossible transformation of Lucius into a donkey to show humanity as it acts when it thinks no one is watching, but the divine councils of Menippean satire also fit. 37 B ecause of the narrative constraints of biography, however, the Historia Augusta never escapes reality Even the most outrageous stories, although improbable, are still possible. One element of this phase, though, finds strong expression in the Historia Aug usta : catalogues The Historia Augusta 38 With the fourth phase, satire embraces tragic irony and examines the fall o f a hero from a realistic, human perspective Little of this phase appears in the Historia 34 The Historia Augusta intellectualism, Frye 1957, 230. 35 Frye 1957, 234. 36 Frye 1957, 234 6. 37 Relihan 1993, 21, 95 and Weinbrot 2005, 7 8 exclude the Metamorphosis from the category of Menippean satire based upon its lack of prosimetrum and its romantic approach (for instance, in the tale of Cupid and Psyche and the 3. 38 Frye 1957, 236.


42 Augusta It prefers the fifth phase, fatalistic irony whatever good occurs, evil must supplant it an elegant metaphor for the unstable imperial system The sixth phase sinks into nihilism It shows the human experience as only pain and misery Modern dystopic works often utilize this phase, like George 1984 I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream but the Historia Augusta eschews such absolute pessimism By contrasting the vices of the bad emperors with the virtues of the good, the author of the Historia Augusta acknowledges that evil, while inevitable, does not last. Frye provides a useful rubric that allo ws one to see satire broadly in the Historia Augusta but in order to define precisely its use of satire Satire: A Critical Reintroduction The peculiar vice and virtue of his study is its comprehensiveness: he discusses example s and theory of satire from its most ancient exemplars to the nineteenth and twentieth century critics Although Griffin only touches upon ancient satire, he demonstrates the continuity and characteristics of the genre that eluded ancient critics like Quin tilian 39 By exploring tropes of these three forms, we can arrive at a universal conception of ancient satire Chapters 3 and 4 wil l explore how these tropes are deployed in the Historia Augusta 39 at other times identifying only formal verse and Men ippean satire (id. 77) as genuine satire, while other genres can have satiric characteristics. When he includes parody in his tripartite division, he calls it the ere.


43 Formal Satire Roman verse satire, written in dactylic hexameters, is best known from Lucilius, Horace, Persius, and Juvenal. 40 Although the four wrote in the same genre, their works (only three of which still survive in any quantity extant Lucilius amounts to 1,200 disjointed fragments) show marked differences. The aim here will not be a full appreciation of the richness which these elements add to the poetry, but to identify the relation to the Historia Augusta can emerge. Juvenal states that everything that men do, quidquid agunt homines will form the body of his satires. 41 Thus, we might expect the most u niversal of human activities, eating The extant texts do not disappoint The fragments of Lucilius testify to the prominence of food in his satires, particularly as a tool to attack. 42 Horace makes food the focus of several sermones twice satirizing the p retensions of his fellow elites with lavish banquets (2.4, 2.8) and once inverting the principle by having the rustic Ofellus praise simple fare (2.2) Both Persius and Juvenal contrast rich feasts with humble meals to feed their indignation (Pers. 6; Juv. 4, 6, 11) Metaphors of food seem to 40 Ennius is the first to write saturae but the sparse and fragmentary remains of his satires lead me to exclude them from analysis here; they contribute nothing that the other four will not. Another satiric trend, Menippean satire, represented by Var ro, Seneca, and others, will be treated later. 41 Juv. 1.85 6, quidquid agunt homines, uotum, timor, ira, uoluptas, / gaudia, discursus, nostri farrago libelli est carryings 42 Fragments 11, 46, 50 1, 70, 112 3, 126 132, 157 65, 199 207, 214 25, 236 7, 302, 315 7, 337 40, 350 1, 357 8, 465 6, 469 71, 480 6, 515, 533, 536 9, 581 2, 586 7, 595 606, 629, 662 3, 740, 759 68, 815, 817 8, 925, 966 7, 976 7, 986 9, 1019 37, 1055 6, 1220 43; Warmington 1935, 418 22 collects isolated words and phrases which he chose not to include in his numbered list. These pages have a few other mentions of food, but out of context, they contribute nothi relationship with food than the numbered offerings. (context could reveal others, like Salerna = wine, 120, 213 may refer to a simple country feast, book 18 seems like it may be on gluttony). Griffin 1994, 119 cit es


44 marinate the entire body of Roman verse satire: Horace describes his ideal poetry like a recipe; 43 Persius says that his poems will be aliquid decoctius (1.244); and Juv enal calls his work a farrago a hodge podge of the affairs of life. 44 This hearkens back to the etymology satura lanx book for satire. 45 Alongside these earthy images sits an old definit ion of satire as a serious, 46 47 Griffin rejects this view, 48 but it highlights the juxtaposition of the high and the low, the serious and the comic, which pervades all the verse satirists, the sharpest manifestation of which is low brow humor The fragments of Lucilius are peppered with tantalizingly obscene images 49 and while Horace wrote less scurrilous satire than his predecessor, he still incorporated the vulgar into his sermones In one 43 Hor., Sermones 1.10.9 15, est brevitate opus, ut currat sententia neu se / inpediat verbis lassas onerantibus auris, / et sermone opus est modo tristi, s aepe iocoso, / defendente vicem modo rhetoris atque poetae, / interdum urbani, parcentis viribus atque / extenuantis eas consulto. ridiculum acri / fortius et melius magnas plerumque secat res does not hinder itself with words that burden wearied ears; and there is need of diction now sad, often joyful, defending now the place of the orator and the poet, and besides that, of a cultured man, sparing his forces and thinning them out by design. The laughable generally cuts through great matters stronger 44 Gowers 1993, 108 219. 45 Gowers 1993, 109 ( lanx satura ), medley dishes, and leges pe r saturam laws that contained many topics. She clearly establishes that lanx satura satura likely influenced ancient satirists. See also Keane 2006, 7. 46 Highet 1954, and Plaza 2006, 18 19, especially n. 45, which enumerates the advocates of the conservative view. 47 Hor., Sermones 1.1.24 5, ridentem dicere verum / quid vetat? 48 Griffin 1994, 35 6. 49 E.g., fr. 61, in bulgam penetrare pilosam noctipugam


45 poem, Cato recommends that a young man sate his lust with prostitutes rather than married women The youth cries out that he w ould not wish to be honored for that! The reason? Because he prefers the forbidden flesh or, as Horace terms it, cunnus albus 50 The garden statue of Priapus drives off the witch Canidia with an apotropaic blast of flatus. 51 Persius and Juvenal refer to the grossly natural and sexualized body with complete frankness. 52 B ase and scatological humor just like food, is essential to ancie nt satire The common and quotidian in satire are self evident, but if they are not mere palliative for role do they play? Griffin sees in satire a strong element of irony and ambivalence. 53 In this view, the juxtaposition of high didacticism and low humor undermines the supposedly lofty literary ambitions of the satirists and the morals they purport to explo re The clearest example is Juvenal 6, in which the satirist rails against the vices of women A superficial reading sees this poem as simple 50 Hor., Sermones 1.2 31 6, quidam notus homo cum exiret fornice, 'macte / virtute esto' inquit sententia dia Catonis; / 'nam simul ac venas inflavit taetra libid o, / huc iuvenes aequom est descendere, non alienas / permolere uxores.' 'nolim laudarier' inquit / 'sic me' mirator cunni Cupiennius albi certain famous man left the brothel, t Be of righteous virtue! For as soon as filthy lust filled your veins, it is good for youths to come here, not to grin I would not 51 Hor., Sermones 1.8.44 46 50, osa sonat quantum vesica, pepedi / diffissa nate ficus; at illae currere in urbem. / Canidiae dentis, altum Saganae caliendrum / excidere atque herbas atque incantata lacertis, / vincula cum magno risuque iocoque videres I was not an unavenged witness, f or, as great a blast as my swollen gut makes, I farted, my butt cleaving a fig tree; yet they ran to the city! You would see the teeth of Canidia fall about, the tall head dress of Sagana and her plants and lizard enchanted chains with great laughter and a Horace includes a second fart in the subsequent poem (1.9.69 70), perhaps a n allusion to his own crassness; Hooley 2006, 63. 52 Pers. 6.71 3, ut tuus iste nepos olim satur anseris extis, / cum morosa uago singultiet inguine uena, / patriciae inme iat uoluae? Tuccia uesicae non imperat, 4, quid tibi cum uultu, qualem deprensus habebat / Rauola dum Rhodopes uda terit inguina barba? 53 Griffin 1994, 35 94.


46 misogyny but the men in the poem are equally contemptible for her wanton infidelities ignorance, as Tacitus and Suetonius describe. 54 The uxorious Sertorius is rebuked for tolerating his domineering wife Bibula; if only she would grow ugly, he would throw her out and become slave to another sexy spouse. 55 The worst offender is the author himself, who devotes an entire poem to lambasting the evils and worthlessness of women at the cost of his own integrity Why waste so much time on targets that do not deserve it? One cannot trust an immoral moralist The other satirists follow the same pattern: Sermo 2.2 sets the worldly Horatian speaker alongside the simple, rustic Ofellus The humble man advocates a life without extravagance, which the more urbane speaker admires but cannot adopt. A simple reading suggests a traditional appeal to simplicitas. On reconsideration, however, the reader is at a loss: who would want to live as simply as Ofellus? philosophy but not practicing it? H orace turns a Roman clich into a matter for serious reflection. Satirists also problematize 56 their work with a variation on the recusatio Whereas other authors apologize for their inability to write epic or tragedy, satirists broadcast, bemoan, and even brag about their meager audience Lucilius seems to exclude from 54 Juv. 6.115 35, compare Suet., Claud ius 17, 26, 29, 36 7; Tac., Annals 11.26 38. 55 Juv. 6.142 8, cur desiderio Bibulae Sertorius ardet? / si uerum excutias, facies non uxor amatur. / tres rugae subeant et se cutis arida laxet, / fiant obscuri dentes oculique minores, / 'collige sarcinulas' dicet libertus 'et exi. / iam grauis es nobis et saepe emungeris. exi / ocius et propera. sicco uenit altera naso ,' the truth, the face, not the wife, is loved. Let three wrinkles creep in and let her dry skin loosen, let her teeth become dark and her eyes rath Collect your bags and go! You are now a burden to us and you are often blowing your nose. Leave, quickly, and make haste. Anoth 56


47 his audience the doctissimi and indoctissimi alike; he wants only the moderately learned elite to read his poems. 57 Horace, in the close of his first book, claims that he assumed the mantle of satirist because his betters had already claimed the grand genres of epic and tragedy; satire he can handle, though still not as well as Lucilius. 58 Persius does not deny his ability but rather the efficacy of his art, developing a sentiment first uttered by Horace: one or two people may read his book, perhaps no one. 59 Juvenal, in a famous passage echoed by the Historia Augusta states that his indignation will write his poems, although he is not up to the task. 60 The culmination of this authorial ambiguity is the complete abandonment of personal intent by identifying the satirical speaker not as the author but as an impersonal and unidentifiable persona. 61 autobiography of the satirist: the journey of Horace as speaker with Maecenas could describe an actual political embassy on which the historical Horace joined descriptions in his third satire of the evils poisoning Rome conniving Greeks and Jews, 57 Fr. 632 4, (ab indoctissimis) nec doctissimis legi me; Manium Mamli um / Persiumve haec legere nolo, Iunium Congum volo 58 Hor., Sermones 1.10.36 7, 40 5, 48 9, turgidus Alpinus iugulat dum Memnona dumque / diffingit Rheni libellos / unus vivorum, Fundani, Pollio regum / facta canit pede ter percusso; fo rte epos acer / ut nemo detrahere ausim / haerentem capiti cum multa laude coronam Memnon, and while he reshapes the whore and with Davus tricking the old Chremes, you have the power, you make your books to chat, the only one of the living, Fundanius; Pollio sings the deeds of kings with a three step; pe rhaps keen Varius writes epic like no one, gentle and fine; the Muses nodded their approval, rejoicing in the Vergilian 59 Pers. 1.1, compare with Hor., Ser mones 1.4.22 3, cum mea nemo / scripta legat 60 Juv. 1.79 80, compare with HA, Macr. 11.4. 61 Anderson 1982, 3 10 and throughout. Adapted from Kernan 1959.


48 blackmailers, and impending death from wagons and roof tiles have been used to 62 Yet treating the speakers as anything other than poetic constructions creates problems Persius speaker is a learned but harsh cultural critic railing against th e depraved poetry and morals of his time. 63 Indeed, his critique of the poetic conventions of his day that is, under Nero In life, however, Persius never published a verse; when his fri ends published his poems after his death, they changed the only phrase which might have offended the emperor. 64 The apparent authenticity seem to legitimate his raillery, but the details of his lif e belie this pretense. 65 Griffin categorizes the qualities of satire under four headings: inquiry, provocation, display, and play. 66 The former two characterize the ambivalent, philosophical side of satire, while the latter two represent the persuasive and d eclamatory elements of the genre With inquiry, the satirist tests certain ideas or beliefs in the crucible of his poetry. 67 Even the term sermones which Lucilius and Horace apply to their poems implies the dialectic and exploration of satire Significantly however, 62 Highet 1954, in Anderson 1982, 8. 63 Pers. 3.115 8, alges, cum excussit membris timor albus aristas; / nunc face supposita feruescit sanguis et ira / scintillant oculi, dicisque facisque quod ipse / non sani esse hominis non sanus iuret Orestes grow cold when white fear has struck the hairs from your limbs; now, with torch aloft, the blood boils and eyes flash with anger, and you say and you do what Orestes himself, not a well man, would swear to be 64 Sullivan 1978, 160. 65 The Vita Persii appended to the manuscripts of his works suggest that h e was a quiet, bookish young man. 66 Griffin 1994, 39 94 67 Griffin 1994, 39 52.


49 these explorations never yield results Sermo 2.2 offers this sort of fruitless The companion of inquiry, provo cation, is the tendency for satire to challenge conventional standards and accepted truths This One expects a certain level of clarity in the act of communication, whether a legal brief, a narrative poem, or a restaurant menu; ancient satirists, however, confound this expectation That our major source for the fragments of Lucilius is Nonius, who collected them for their lexical and grammatical oddity, suggests that satire challenged the r eader from an early date Persius is one of the most difficult Latin authors: even his paradigmatic prologue poem, although only fourteen lines, is filled with obscure imagery, including the term semi paganus that defies definition to this day. 68 Juvenal is known for a discursive, paradoxical style. 69 This is not the modern conception of paradox, but rather an explicit denial of what is considered conventional or orthodox: Juvenal 3 and 6, respectively, 70 va lues, and disrupt his orthodoxy. 71 Satire challenges its beliefs. Persuasive speech, meanwhile, demonstrates the showmanship and orna ment characteristic of imperial declamation. 72 With display, an author attempts to dazzle his 68 Anderson 1982, 169 93; Hooley 2007, 103 4. 69 Griffin 1994, 55 6. 70 Griffin 1994, 53. 71 Paulson 1967a, 135, in Griffin 1994, 54. 72 Griffin 1994, 71; Kaster 2001.


50 audience with a virtuoso performance, whether with the beautiful lines of Horace or with 73 Juvenal delight s in verbal veno m, more it seems than the moral commonplaces that it uphold s 74 He indulges not just in critique, but in the form of critique presenting conventional moral arguments so powerfully that the presentation becomes the heart of the satire While display seeks to impress an audience, play is a more solitary pursuit 75 Lucilius and Horace both used variations of ludus 76 Even at his most indignant Juvenal plays with terms and images: a toad milked for its pois on and colorful hyperbole lambasting women make the reader laugh at their sheer audacity Implicit in play is joy, which helps explain the laughter th and suggests a poet who, at least in some degree, delights in his own verb al skill. 77 So far, we have identified several characteristics of formal verse satire: content i ncorporating food and low humor; ontent and meaning; and the categories of inquiry, provocation, display, and play Altho ugh all of these categories appear in the Historia Augusta the biographies lack the explicit moralizing voice of satire and contain only brief smatterings of poetry Furthermore, its obscure lines Gentle wit and prosimetrum suggest Menippean satire. 73 Scaliger 1594, 838. 74 Griffin 1994, 75. 75 Griffin 1994, 84. 76 Griffin 1994, 83 94. 77 Juv. 1.69 70, occurrit matrona potens, quae molle Calenum / porrectura uiro miscet sitiente rubetam powerful matron comes up, w


51 Menippean Satire The ancient exemplars of Menippean satire are varied Menippus, Varro, Seneca the Younger, Petronius, Lucian, and Julian but a number of commonalities uni te them. 78 The eponymous founder of the genre is Menippus, but too little of his work survives to analyze it The most important detail is the y some 79 In fact, journeys to the underworld to consult with the dead recur throughout Menippean satire In his biography of Menippus, Diogenes Laertius calls the man a mocker, which gives an indication of later Menippean satire. Varro was the first to write Saturae Menippeae 80 His works survive in fra gment and summary 81 The summaries are of especial interest because Aulus Gellius provides excerpts of actual Menippean satires that are otherwise lost r studying the history of early Menippean satire. 82 From Gellius, one can see that 78 Relihan 1993 lists these authors with detailed analysis. Kirk 1980 provides a virtually complete list of Menippean satire, both ancient and modern. 79 Relihan 1993, 39 40. 80 At C ic., Acad emica 1.8, Varro says that he followed Menippus: et tamen in illis veteribus nostris, quae Menippum imitati non interpretati quadam hilaritate conspersimus, multa admixta ex intima philosophia, multa dicta dialectice, quae quo facilius minus doct i intellegerent, iucunditate quadam ad legendum invitati imitating Menippus, not translating him), a great deal of philosophy was mixed in from our inmost part; m any things were said in dialectic, in order that the less learned might understand it more easily; we Noctes Atticae quibus ille Menippus fuit, cuius libros M. Var ro in saturis aemulatus est, quas alii 'cynicas', ipse appellat 'Menippeas,' was Menippus, whose books he emulated in his Menippean. 81 Kirk 1980, 5, gives all the titles, with both their Greek and Latin names (where both are known). The fragments themselves are collected in Astbury 2002. 82 Gellius, Noctes Atticae 1.17.4 6, 13.11 6, 6.16.1 5.


52 Varronian Menippean satire delights in wordplay and extensive lists; Varro parodies his own learned predilections by indulging them to comical excess. In the Neronian age, S eneca offers the next extant and first complete Apocolocyntosis It demonstrates many of the elements assumed from fragments, such as the nek yia and it introduces new ones, in particular the cat as copia 83 reader, if not the satiric actor) a detached view of human absurdity Seneca also emphasizes the aporetic elements which the scraps of Varro only suggest: the antagonist of the whole work, Claudius, appears almost sympathetic, while most of the divine figures judging him are as foolish or wicked as the deceased emperor. 84 The reader ends the brief satire unsure whether to judge the dea th of Claudius a comedy or a tragedy. Satyricon is an outlier in the field of Menippean satire It contains prosimetrum and seriocomic scenes, but it also has traits of a picaresque novel, such as raunchy humor and abundant amorality These elements do not limit the Satyricon but enhance it Almost every character in the work considers himself a moral paragon while embodying its opposing vice: Encolpius and Agamemnon cry out against the depredations of declamation, while in the Cena Tri malchionis Trimalchio purports to aristocracy while hosting a grotesque parody of a banquet, replete with abysmal poetry, baroque food, and other signs of wantonness. 85 Since everyone in the novel is a 83 Catas copia : Seneca, Apoc olocyntosis 12 3; Nek yia : Seneca Apoc olocyntosis 14 5. 84 Relihan 1993, 75 7. 85 Petronius, Satyricon 1 5, 26 78.


53 hypocrite, the work metaphorically satirizes all of society Nor does the Satyricon spare itself, for the Cena Trimalchionis critiques the poetic and literary inferiority of contemporary society, which, in a Neronian milieu, includes the arbiter elegentiae Petronius Aporia returns too, with an unheroic her o in a world that implicates everyone in its evils The lack of a nek yia seems to reject Menippean form but it may have been found in one of the lost sections of the novel. 86 In any case, the abundance of other traits overwhelm. 87 Petronius has taken a nove listic framework and overlaid it with Menippean elements. Lucian provides the most complete picture of Menippean satire His essays, dialogues, and declamations incorporate all the elements discussed above, and he even includes Menippus as the chief actor in two complementary pieces: seeking supernatural wisdom, Menippus travels to heaven in the Icaromenippus (allowing him a catas copia ); and in the Nek yia he journeys to Hades (a formal nek yia ) In both, he walks away in aporia having learned nothing which he did not already know Lucian also incorporated Menippean elements into many other non Menippean works In the Vera Historia a shipful of men is carried up to the moon, allowing them a chance at catas copia if not nek yia The Dialogues of the Dead involves Menippus travelling again to Hades, this time for a nek yia not of gods or heroes but of historical mortals; by the end, he counts himself among their number, forever trapped in the realm of the dead In Juppiter Tragoedus all the gods debate the ir own existence, and an atheist finds faith by reasoning that altars exist; therefore, the gods to whom they are dedicated must also 86 Schmeling 1996, 460 suggests that the work may have contained twenty four books, while only one complete and two fragmentary books are extant. 87 Relihan 1993, 91.


54 exist. 88 Like Petronius, Lucian has borrowed select elements of Menippean satire and superimposed them upon an existing gen eric framework, challenging the reader and his expectations The concept of Menippean satire becomes more and more abstract; it becomes a tone or register that allows it to infuse different genres T he final Menippean satire that could have influenced the Historia Augusta is the Caesares by Julian the Apostate Emperors and great rulers, including Alexander the Great, Marcus Aurelius, and Constantine, compete before the gods for the right to sit on Olympus l views: the supremacy of Marcus Aurelius, the wickedness of Constantine, the fraudulence of Christianity. 89 The spoudogeloion and prosimetrum only enliven imperial doctrine Yet the narrator, Julian himself, provides the framing device, pretending to relate a funny story he once heard. 90 charges that he apotheosized his wife and allowed Commodus to rule. 91 The glory of 88 Relihan 1993, 114 6. Kirk 1980 includes these and many others in his catalogue of Menippean works. 89 Julian, Caes. 38.5, , , , to her. She took him up g lity, where also he found Jesus, going about take heart! For I shall wash him with this water and at once show him pure, and if he commits these crimes again, I shall grant to him who beats his br east and him who strikes his head to become pure. 520. 90 Julian, Caes. 1, re 91 Julian, Caes. s looked to the goal and stuck to the things concerning his child and his wife which seemed to have been done in an unorthodox way and against reason; namely, that he had enrolled


55 Olympus is tarnished, too, for all the competitors are allowed to stay among the gods, and Jesus himself, despised by Julian, resides among them. Julian draws upon the finest of the Menippean tradition to create a universe in which good goes unrewarded and evil unpunished; even the wickedest Christian faces n o different fate from the more traditional works plunge one into a state of aporia Julian subjects his views to a Menippean filter, covering the dark conclusions with hu mor and framing them in such a way that one cannot trust the conclusions. Nek yia catas copia aporia : the exploration of ancient Menippean satire created a framework In his P Bakhtin identifies a seriocomic This category embraces a wide number of traditional Menippean satires, all united by fourteen characteristics: an increased comic element; freedom from h istory, legend, plot unity, and philosophical tradition; indulgence in the fantastic and in explorations of philosophical ideas; union of the fantastic with crude slum naturalism; contemplation of broad themes of universal importance; journeys to heaven an d hell and correspondent dialogues of the dead; experimental fantasticality which changes the observed scale of life; representation and exploration of the abnormal states of the human mind; scenes of scandal and violation of normal behavior; strong juxtap osition; images of social utopia; frequent use of other genres inserted into the work; a resultant multi leveled tone to the work; and a concern with he role of persona theory in presentation here has not been sufficiently explored, but note Pack 1946 151 7 which argues that the Caesares


56 92 Some have criticized this list for becomes a useless term applicable to any seriocomic piece of literature. 93 Scholars 94 Every urteen categories, however, appear in the Historia Augusta to varying degrees no coincidence. analysis Historia Augusta and are important for Ancient Menippean Satire is most useful for identifying and arranging the Menippean content of the Historia Augusta Whereas Bakhtin and Frye write in that vein, Relihan explores its ancient origins, making his survey of singular value for assessing a work like the Historia Augusta In a ddition to prosimetrum and spoudogeloion Relihan sees aporetic endings as the crucial commonality uniting ancient Menippean satire Aporia in a Menippean context suggests self mockery and inconclusiveness; the theme of the work often comes back around on itself and both actor and reader are left unsure of the point of the whole exercise. As with verse satire, the Historia Augusta contains many elements of Menippean satire and lacks some crucial ones Although the Historia Augusta details episodes that 92 Bakhtin 1984, 114 9, summarized in Weinbrot 2005, 12. 93 Weinbrot 2005, 16. 94 Elliott 1960, 186; Astbury 1988; Reardon 1991, 49. Kron enberg 2009, 5 doubts whether it has any value as a generic marker at all.


57 beli e belief Firmus could hardly have eaten an ostrich per day 95 none of them reach the level of pure fantasy that one finds in Lucian or Julian This fact means that the Historia Augusta also has no catas copia This might be surmountable; indeed, the extant re mains of Satyricon are mired in the same sort of ultra heightened reality What raises further doubts is the quality of the prosimetrum Relihan notes that the poetry in all other Menippean satires furthers their story and satiric effect. 96 Although the His toria Augusta has many snippets of poetry, much of it original, none of it transcends the quasi 97 The narrative proceeds all in prose The Historia Augusta for all its correspon dences, cannot be strict Menippean satire. Parody Parody, the third main satiric genre identified by Griffin, presents unique difficulties in an ancient context The earliest definitions of parody call it a humorous or mocking transformation of the art of the epic rhapsodists changing words or verses from the well known sagas to create an incongruous new piece. 98 Quintilian altered the definition to something more familiar to modern readers, calling it a genre that consciously changed the form or content of any recognized literary work for humorous 95 HA, Quad. Tyr 4.2, struthionem ad diem comedisse fertur 96 Relihan 1993, 18, based on Mras 1914, 391. 97 E.g., HA, Hadr. 2.8, quo quidem tempore cum sollicitus de imperatoris erga se iudicio Vergilianas menta / r egis Romani, primam qui legibus urbem / fundabit, Curibus parvis et paupere terra / missus in nion of hi Who is that remarkable man, far from the boards of olive, carrying sacred items? I recognize the hairs and hoary chin of the Roman king, who will found the first city with laws, sent from meager Cures and a poor land to a great kingdo m, to whom it will then submit. 98 Rose 1993, 6 20.


58 or critical effect. 99 Nevertheless it seems that few undertook it The conservative epic tradition provides some short models, namely the Margytes and the Batrachomyomachia Long form non epic parody is almost non existent, either in extant te xts or in the literary records. 100 In fact, parody in the classical world is as mode that colors literature Frogs to the sententi a (as quoted by Suetonius), oderint dum probent 101 The ancient definition of parody does not satisfy Parody: ancient, modern, and post modern will guide my treatment of parody, for it appreciates parody on i ts own terms For a long time, parody was seen as a low genre, relegated beneath other often despised comic genres. 102 positive definition of the little to elucidate the satiric role that the genre can play. 103 The details of her discussion are the most important part, particularly her statement that parody is fundamentally comedic and ambivalent. 104 Strict parody only differs from satire in its imitati on of its target and the necessity of a moralizing voice a description which applies to the Historia Augusta 99 Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria 6.3, 'hereditas est quam uocant sapientiam' pro illo 'felicitas est': seu ficti Inheri for that line or that is, like creations from 100 True History serves as an example of a novel whose main conceit is a prose parody of the tropes of epic poetry, but it changes its form so muc h that the novel should be read as parodic rather than strict parody. Catullus 64 could be seen as parody of epic or of wedding odes, but its length (408 lines) would hardly constitute a liber much less an entire epos 101 Aristophanes, Frogs 830 1533; Sue t., Tib erius 59.2, compare with Warmington 1967, Accius fragment 168, oderint dum metuant 102 Rose 1993, 9 ridiculus to describe it. 103 Rose 1993, 52. 104 Rose 1993, 47.


59 Yet falter when she attempts to differentiate parody from other genres She enumerates several modern interpretations of genres, subgenres, or even tones of literature, contrasting them with parody to set it apart. 105 unnecessarily; parody can fit within and alongside virtually any mode of li terary expression, and even satire can be written as parody definition for parody to apply to the Historia Augusta but the most significant lesson is Rose gives a clear framework for considering parody, but one which applies to few whole works in antiquity Instead, the traits of parody appear in varying degrees throughout a variety of ancient works from Pro Caelio to works like the True History which incorporates parodic elements throughout This distinction between strict parody and strict satire overlooks the strong correspondences between the two genres, which will be exploited for analyzing the Historia Augusta The Sa tiric Each genre has its own special characteristics, but there is tremendous overlap between formal verse satire, Menippean satire, and parody; indeed, different commentators will give individual works or poems different labels depending upon their emphas is: Persius 4 can be read as a simple verse satire, but also as a parody of the True History presents itself as a sort of prose parody of the serious epics that students of his day would have read, but it can also be read as a t rue 105 Rose 1 993, 54 fiction.


60 Menippean adventure. 106 All three genres, even in their noblest expressions, tend towards a low style, whether in the crudeness of their humor or their indulgence in humor itself They also tend to obfuscate their apparent meaning, verse and Menippean sa tire by casting doubt upon themselves, parody by deriding an existing model. Finally, the genres explore rather than define ideas; the satiric presents the reader problems with no solutions Therefore, by demonstrating the low or quotidian themes, the narr ative ambiguity, and moral explorations throughout the Historia Augusta we can illuminate the satiric mode of the work, which drives the work and transforms it from shoddy biography into a meaningful critique of its time and of human affairs In what follows I will demonstrate the prevalence o f quotidian themes (C hapt er 3) and narrative ambiguity (C hapter 4) in the Historia Augusta The concentration of these tropes will prove the satiric identity of the Historia Augusta which will allow for a new cr itique of the moral explorations that it pursues I will examine the re ligious and political content (C hapters 5 and 6) of the Historia Augusta through the satiric lens, providing greater insight into its aporetic qualities My method is to read through the Historia Augusta from the Vita Hadriani to the Vita Cari et Carini et Numeriani whenever possible, except where thematic considerations (like the religious focus of the Vita Alexandri Severi ) demand special treatment. 106 Relihan 1993, 76, 202, 275 n. 17 suggests that it could even be seen as a parod y.


61 CHAPTER 3 FOOD, SEX, AND JOKES Biography inherently privileges the personal qualities of its subject s. The Historia Augusta continues and expands this tradition not just exhibit ing the base and quotidian but exulting in it Such emphasis on food, sex, and humor guides one towards a satiric reading of the Historia Augusta Food Perhaps the most frequent manifestation of daily life in the Historia Augusta is food. These are no mere loaves and fishes however; is laid out in all its variety and e xcess The first notable dish appears towards the end of the Vita Hadriani fondness for tetrapharmacum pastry. 1 The casserole is mentioned twice more, once in the Vita Aelii and again in the Vita Alexandri Severi 2 The latter passage only mentions it as a meal favored by Alexander Severus but the Vita Aelii describes t som a different name, pentepharmacum as well as a variation on the recipe (including peacock and 1 HA, Hadr. 20.4, inter cibos unice amavit tetrapharmacum, quod erat de phasiano sumine perna et crustulo tetrapharmacum 2 HA, Ael. 5 .3 5 huius voluptates ab iis qui vitam eius scripserunt multae feruntur, et quidem non infames sed aliquatenus diffluentes. nam tetrapharmacum, seu potius pentapharmacum, quo postea semper Hadrianus est usus, ipse dicitur repperisse, hoc est sumen phasianum pavonem p ernam crustulatam et aprunam. de quo genere cibi aliter refert Marius Maximus, non pentapharmacum sed tetrapharmacum appellans, ut et nos ip si in eius vita persecuti sumus His many delights are mentioned by those who wrote his life, and indeed they are n ot contemptible, but somewhat extravagant. For he is said to have invented the tetrapharmacum or rather the penta pharmacum which Hadrian afterwards always enjoyed; in pastry, and wild boar. Marius Maximus says differently about this sort of food, calling it not penta pharmacum but tetrapharmacum, as we ourselves have followed in his l ife; Alex Sev. 30 ususque est Hadriani tetrafarmaco frequenter, de quo in libris suis Marius Maximus loquitur, cum Hadriani dis serit vitam tetrapharmacum often,


62 wild boar, and putting the pastry on the ham) which Marius Maximus, cited in the anecdote, still calls tetraph armacum None of the ingredients in isolation is especially exotic; the dish seems to be a simple farrago of conventional foods B iographical and satiric precedents, however, imply a deeper meaning for the motif of the tetrapharmacum moral instruction could be found in the most trivial of things even Suetonius emperors often indulge in elaborate fare, but particularly Vitellius He enjoyed the strikin gly similar to the tetrapharmacum and composed of ingredients from all over the empire dominion symbolized on a platter. 3 The Historia Augusta attempts to ameliorate the extravagance of the tetrapharmacum but its Vitellian reminiscences could not e scape an audience raised on Suetonius and Marius Maximus This comparison causes no complications for the morally ambivalent Hadrian and Aelius, but Alexander Severus is a sainted figure in the Historia Augusta 4 The first important foodstuff in the collection introduces two key satiric markers: quotidian themes and, by the subtle complication of an apparently virtuous emperor aporia 3 Suet., Vit ellius 2, Famosissima super ceteras fuit cena data ei adventicia a fratre, in qua duo milia lectissimorum piscium, septem avium apposita traduntur. Hanc quoque exsuperavit ipse dedicatione iocinera, phasianarum et pavorum cerebella, linguas phoenicopteru m, murenarum lactes a Parthia usque fretoque Hispanico per navarchos ac triremes petitarum commiscuit, all the rest, was given to him by his brother, in which two thousand of the choicest fish and seven of birds are said to have been offered. He himself also surpassed this with the creation of a dish which, because the brains of pheasants and peacocks, the tongu es of flamingos, and the intestines of eels, which were 4 The author even opens the life in a panegyrical tone: HA, Alex. Sev. 1.1 2, Interfecto Vario Helioga balo (sic enim malumus dicere quam Antoninus, quia et nihil Antoninorum pestis illa ostendit et hoc nomen ex imperium thus do we prefer to call him rather than Antoninus, because that plague demonstrates nothing of the Antonines, and this name was erased from the annals


63 Food is essential in satire; etymology is culinary, from satura lanx It juxta poses the material realities of the world with the seeming ly lofty intentions. 5 Gowers identifies four functions of food in satire, in ascending order of abstraction: a superficial culinary meaning, a social meaning, a philosophical meaning, and a n aesthetic meaning. 6 We can disregard the first and the poetic satire to declare its adherence to neoteric ideals, a concern not shared by the late antique Historia Augusta 7 Even the social and philosophical aspects of food intermingle as the extravagance or humbleness of a dish leads the reader to moral judgment tendencies of sati re complicate the relatively simplistic moralizing of biography To the tetrapharmacum turbot from Juvenal 4 another grand and grotesque dish that lays the Roman Empire out on a plate Go wers sees the first part of the poem, a seemingly disconnected scale version of the main imperial theme that follows. 8 Th e Historia Augusta was familiar with both authors; the tetrapharmac um may be, like meal, the 5 Go wers 1993, 162 3. 6 Gowers 1993, 157 8, that is, how the food functions as food, what it says about the relative social position of the consumer, what it says about the morality of the consumer, and finally, how the food fits into the artistic scope of the work. For example, in the discussion of the tetrapharmacum the dish is plainly a comestible, the wide range of foodstuffs and their high cost suggests a patrician consumer, the extravagance of the casserole indicts the morals of the consumer, and the coa rse combination of foods is ideally suited to the low genre of satire. Were the dish replaced with a honeyed tart, the aesthetic value could be judged fine and more suited to Horatian styled poetry. 7 Pers. 1.125, us audis you hear something rather cooked 8 Gowers 1993, 206.


64 The food symbolically tells a tale of imperial corruption: Hadrian, Aelius, and Alexander Severus, none differ ing in their appetites, all masters of the empire going to enjoy Why, then, does the author insist upon mitigating the vice of such a dish? Satiric inscrutability looms large over this casserole. The tetrapharmacum is a conceivable dish; later the collection abandons plausibility Gallienus, the supreme villain of the latter half of the collection, twists basic foods to his will, making castles from apples and serving fresh wine, melons, and fruit fresh from the tree, all out of season. 9 The emperor perverts the natura l orde r to achieve marvelous results H is desires are literally unnatural The first of the Quadrigae Tyrannorum Firmus, consumes a wh ole ostrich each day and bests the renowned by downing two buckets of wine and staying sober (HA, Quad. Tyr. 4) The last emperor in the Historia Augusta Carinus, would serve over a thousand pound s of various meats at banquet s and would swim among apples and melons (HA, Carus 17.2 4) These debauched exploits amplify even the most pig ar e single, exceptional instances while the emperors of the Historia Augusta indulge in these fantastical excesses regularly These grand meals are the inverse of Ofellus in Horace Sermo 2.2 : they are repellent but enticing because of the extreme success the y represent The emperor Tacitus, meanwhile, sets a table so bland a s to debase imperial 9 HA, Gall 16, ac ne eius praetereatur miseranda solertia, veris tempore cubicula de rosis fecit. de pomis castella composuit. uvas triennio servavit. hieme summa melones exhibuit. mustum quem ad modum toto anno haberetur, docuit. ficos virides et poma ex arboribus recentia semper alienis mensibus praebuit ed over, in the spring he made bed chambers out of roses, he made castles of apples. He preserved eggs for three years. At the height of winter, he displayed melons. He showed how grape must might be kept for an entire year. He gave green figs and apples f


65 grandeur no less than his gluttonous successors A banquet in the cou rt of Tacitus might consist of a single preferred bitter foods and would only eat dry, salty bread (HA, Tacit. 11.1 3) The Historia Augusta in the midst of the greatest debauchery, shows that extreme asceticism is an equally unappetizing alternative It puts the reader in the place of Ofellus, forced to acknowledge that a simple, conservative meal holds no appeal The Historia Augusta presents the extremes of the culinary spectrum and leaves the reader disgusted with both. F ood in all its quantity and variety appears most prominently in the form of catalogues. 10 Shortly into the salacious second half of the Vita E lagabali the author discusses some of t make stuffing of fish, the first to make stuffing of oysters and lithostrea and similar shell fish, lobsters and 11 If not for their novel preparation most of these shellfish would be nothing uncommon to any wealthy table Yet the diction is striking: the OLD call e d insicia a word and makes no mention at all of lithostrea a portmanteau of lithos and ostr ea that can be translated 10 ter 13 Gargantua and Pantagruel offers a more modern model, in which Gargantua tells how he found an excellent wipe for his backside (a downy goose), first enumerating no fewer than fifty nine of his previous failed efforts. 11 HA, Elagab 19.6 primus fecit de piscibus isicia, primus de ostreis et lithostreis et aliis huiusmodi marinis conchis et lucustis et cammaris et scillis (Trans. Magie 1924, with some revisions)


66 brains, the heads of various birds, mu uses pearls as seasoning instead of pepper (HA, Elagab. 20.5 21.4) Subsequent emperors eat an enormous variety of food, but none compared to Elagabalus While part of the reason lies in the structure of the Hi storia Augusta which contrasts the villainous Elagabalus with his saint ly successor Alexander Severus, 12 there also seems to be an element of satiric play in the enumeration and even invention of such foods The Vita Elagabali is a fulcrum hinting to the reader that what had come before, biographies which were reasonably factual or at least not ostentatiously fictive, are about to change. Catalogues catalogues of food vanish C omestibles appear only in individual episodes daily ostrich, but l ists do not disappear altogether virtue, forces thirteen separate examples into a single cum clause. 13 The biographer contrasting attributes, the types of people whom Hadrian 12 The Historia Augusta similarly blackens the reputation of Gallienus unduly in part to contrast him with his successor, Claudius; Magie 1932, 16 7. 13 HA, Hadr 10, exemplo etiam virtutis suae ceteros adhortatus, cum etiam vicena milia pedibus armatus ambularet, triclinia de castris et porticus et cryptas et topia dirueret, vestem humillimam frequenter acciperet, sine auro balteum sumeret, sine gemmis fibula sagum stringeret, capulo vix eburneo spatham clauderet, aegros milites in hospitiis suis videret, locum castris caperet, nulli vitem nisi robusto et bonae famae daret nec tribunum nisi plena barba faceret aut eius aetatis, quae prudentia et annis tribunatus robor inpleret, nec pateretur quicquam tribunum a milite accipere, delicata omnia undique summoveret, arma postremo eorum supellectilemque corrigeret by the example of even his own virtue, since we walked around armed even for twenty miles, banished couches from the camps, and porticos and grottos and gardens, often took very humble clothing, wore a belt without gold, used a blanket without gems or pins put away a sword with a barely burnished hilt, saw sick soldiers in his own lodgings, took a place in the camps, gave place to no one unless he were strong and of good reputation, nor made on a tribune unless with a full beard or of that age which would meet the strength of the tribunate in wisdom and years, nor tolerated a tribune taking anything from a soldier, banished all


67 liked and disliked, and the buildings that he built and renovated. 14 No thing in these lists alerts th e reader to any peculiarity, only the artifice of such clause s. Subsequent catalogues create more substantial probl em s I n the Vita Antonini Pii extant building projects are listed : the temple of Hadrian, the Grecostadium, the Amphitheatre, the Tomb of Hadrian, the temple of Agrippa, the Pons Sublicius, the Pharus, the port at Caieta, the port of Tarracina, the baths of Ostia, the aqueduct at Antium, and the temples of Lanuvium. 15 The Vita Severi contains a staggering list of forty nine nobles put to death by the emperor without trial. 16 The eternal testaments to like a grocery list and the noblest men of Rome are reduced to mere names. In form and moral impact, these lists evoke Menippean catalogues and sat iric ambivalence. 14 HA, Hadr. 14.11 idem severus laetus, comis gravis, lasciv us cunctator, tenax liberalis, simulator simplex saevus clemens et semper in omnibus varius and severe, lusty and a delayer, obstinate and generous, a pretender and honest, vicious and merciful indeed, always v 10, Sed quamvis esset in reprehendendis musicis tragicis familiaritate Epictetum et Heliodorum philosophos et, ne nominatim de omnibus dicam, grammaticos, rhetores, musicos, geometras, pictores, astrologos habuit quick to scorn musicians, tragedians, comic poets, grammarians, rhetors, oratos, nevertheless he both honored all had Epictetus and Heliodorus in the greatest acquaintanceship, and, 19.10, Romae instauravit Pantheum, saepta, basilicam Neptuni, sacras aedes plurimas, f orum Augusti, lavacrum Agrippae 15 HA, Ant. Pius 8.2 3, Romae templum Hadriani, honori patris dicatum, Graecostadium post incendium restitutum, instauratum Amphitheatrum, sepulchrum Hadriani, templum Agrippae, Pons Sublicius, Phari restitutio, Caietae portus, Tarracinensis portus restitutio, lavacrum Ostiense, Antiatum aquae ductus, templa Lanuviana. 16 HA, Sev 13.1 7: Mummius Secundinus, Asellius Claudianus, Claudius Rufus, Vitalius Victor, Papius Faustus, Aelius Celsus, Julius Rufus, Lollius Professus, Aurunculeius Cornelianus, Antonius Balbus, Postumius Severus, Sergius Lustralis, Fabius Paulinus, Nonius Gracchus, Mas ticius Fabianus, Casperius Agrippinus, Ceionius Albinus, Claudius Sulpicianus, Memmius Rufinus, Casperius Aemilianus, Cocceius Verus, Erucius Clarus, Aelius Stilo, Clodius Rufinus, Egnatuleius Honoratus, Petronius Junior, the six Pescennii, Festus, Veratia nus, Aurelianus, Materianus, Julianus, and Albinus; the three Cerellii, Macrinus, Faustinianus, and Julianus; Herennius Nepos, Sulpicius Canus, Valerius Catullinus, Novius Rufus, Claudius Arabianus, and Marcius Asellio.


68 The Vita Elagabali stands out as the most egregious abuser of non comestible catalogues The emperor needed vehicles when he travelled for all his pimps, madams, 17 he gives as a donative not coins or candy, but fatted cattle, camels, asses, and slaves. 18 Lavish retinue s and imperial largesse were facts of life under the emperors, but by turning them into catalogues of excess the Historia Augusta renders its biographical subject a satirical target The silliest is the senaculum might wear in public, who was to yield precedence and to whom, who was to advance to kiss another, who might ride in a chariot, on a horse, on a pack animal, or on an ass, who might drive in a carriage drawn by mules or in one drawn by oxen, who might be carried in a litter, and whether the litter might be made of leather, or of bone, or covered with ivory or with silver, and lastly, who might wear gold or jewels 19 Such absurdity drives the episode out of the historical realm and into the satiric. Sex Derisive sexuality peppers the Historia Augusta : Commodus had wanton liaisons with men and women, 20 while Caracalla committed incest with Julia Domna. 21 17 HA, Elagab. 31.6, causa vehiculorum erat lenonum, lenarum, meretricum, exsoletorum, subactorum etiam bene vasatorum multitudo. 18 HA, Elagab. 8.3, Cum consulatum inisset, in populum non nummos vel argenteos vel aureos vel bellaria vel minuta animalia, sed boves opimos et ca melos et asinos et cervos populo diripiendos abiecit, imperatorium id esse dictitans 19 HA, Elagab. 4.4, quae quo vestitu incederet, quae cui cederet, quae ad cuius osculum veniret, quae pilento, quae equo, quae sagmario, quae asino veheretur, quae carpent o mulari, quae bovum, quae sella veheretur et utrum pellicia an ossea an eborata an argentata, et quae aurum vel gemmas in calciamentis haberent trans. Magie 1924. This could be an example of verbal play, for the term senaculum has literary precedent, not as junior senates but as waiting areas before official assemblies of the senate; Mason 1987. 20 HA, Comm 2.8, mulierculas formae scitioris ut prostibula mancipia per speciem lupanarium et ludibrium pudicitiae contraxit brought as sex slaves for the 11, ipsas concubinas suas sub oculis suis


69 E lagabalus is most notorious for his sexual atrocities: he raped a Vestal Virgin 22 and was married to his male freedman Zoticus using the verb for nubere the grammatical subject of which should be feminine. 23 The Historia Augusta emphasizes c ertain details of the Vestal affair to hig according to Herodian, he did not merely rape her but married her, perhaps to legitimize his new religious scheme as head priest of the sun god, perhaps to quell criticism of hi s effeminate ways. 24 Herodian depicts a wicked but politically motivated act; the emphasis stuprari iubebat. nec inruentium in se iuvenum carebat infamia, omni parte corporis atque ore in sexum utrumque pollutus he free from the disgrace of youths pushing into him, polluted in every part of his body and in his mouth 21 HA, Carac 10.1 5, Interest scire quemadmodum nov ercam suam Iuliam uxorem ducisse dicatur. quae cum esset pulcherrima et quasi per neglegentiam se maxima corporis parte nudasset, dixissetque Antoninus, "Vellem, si liceret," respondisse fertur, "Si libet, licet. an nescis te imperatorem esse et leges dare non accipere?" quo audito furor inconditus ad effectum criminis roboratus est nuptiasque eas celebravit quas, si sciret se leges dare vere, solus prohibere debuisset. matrem enim (non alio dicenda erat nomine) duxit uxorem et ad parricidium iunxit incest um, si quidem eam matrimonio sociavit cuius filium nuper occiderat wife. Since she was extremely beautiful and had stripped the greatest part of her body, as though by mi st I shoul If it please s you, it is acceptable. Or do you not know that you are the emperor and tha t you give laws, not And when he heard this, his disord ered madness was strengthened to perform the crime, and he held a wedding which, if he knew that he truly gave the laws, he alone ought to have prevented. For he took his mother (she must not be called by another name) as wife and joined incest to parricid e, if 22 HA, Elagab. 6.6, i n virginem Vestalem incestum admisit 23 HA, Elagab. 10.2 5, Zoticus sub eo tantum valuit ut ab omnibus officiorum principibu s sic haberetur quidem tempore quo Zoticus aegrotabat by all the heads of the offices, as to him and bedded him, such that he even and that at a time when Zoticu states that nubere etymologically mea 24 Herod. 5.6.1 , e out of a virgin dedicated to the Roman Hestia [Vestal Virgin], writing to the senate and justifying his impiety and his youthful transgression, saying that he experienced some sort of manly passion, for he was stricken with love for the girl, and the mar


70 of the Historia Augusta lies in the grossly sexual aspects the episode. As to the second story, Zoticus receives no mention in Herodian Dio Cassius tells of Zoticus and his rival Zoticus into impotence so the emperor would banish him. 25 Both historians speak of it seems possible that Elagabalus was transgender. 26 But the biography muddies the facts, suggesting that Zoticus was more than a failed affair; the author conflates Hierocles and Zoticus, with the effect that the reader believes that Elagabalus had intimate relationships with two powerful freedmen Hierocles i s not mentioned as a husband, but only as an influential freedman The author of the Historia Augusta creates a false narrative to denigrate Elagabalus further than history allows In the Quadrigae Tyrannorum expand even beyond Elagaba lus : after taki ng one hundred maidens prisoner he wrote a letter to his kinsman Maecianus to assure him that, although he had only raped ten the first night, he had taken care of them all within fifteen days. 27 Given the fraudulence of all the letters in t he 25 Aurelius Zoticus, a [Zoticus] was enslaving him more than himself and that he might suffer something terrible from it, such as w as wont to happen with romantic rivals, he utterly effeminate him with some sort of drug through cupbearers who were rather fond of him. Thus, he [Zoticus], seized with impotence the entire night, was removed because of what happened and banished from the palace and from Rome, and afterwards, even from Italy 26 Dugaw 1997, 8, in a review of Feinberg 1996, Transgender Warriors ( non vidi ). 27 HA, Quad. Tyr. 12.7, Proculus Maeciano adfini salutem dicit. centum ex Sarmatia virgines cep i, ex his una nocte decem inivi; omnes tamen, quod in me erat, mulieres intra dies quindecim reddidi Maecianus his kinsmen, greetings. I have taken a hundred maidens from Sarmatia; I entered ten of them in one night. Nevertheless, because I h


71 Historia Augusta this absurd debauchery cannot be trusted. The biographies create a specific atmosphere, one mired in the lower bodily stratum and the grossly sexual world of satire. T he most illuminating sexual episode comes from the first biography in the collection Hadrian is criticized for affairs, both heterosexual and non pederastic homosexual. 28 The reader should not then Antinous We are in a fortunate position here to be able to compare the Historia Au gusta with Dio Cassius The story is essentially the same: that Antinous died in Egypt, was possibly sacrifice d and subsequently received lavish divine honors. 29 The relative focus of each account, however, demands attention Dio Cassius gives factual deta ils (where Antinous was born, the tangible artifacts of his apotheosis), only editorializing insofar as he relates the disgrace into wh ich the incident plunged Hadrian. T he Historia Augusta emphasizes the personal aspects and humiliates the emperor saying that Hadrian cried like a woman for Antinous and that he boasted of having written oracles for his cult One might attribute these various presentations only to the differences between biography and history if not for two th ings First, aposiopesis: while catches himself, too overtaken with 28 HA, Hadr 11.7, huic adiungunt quae de adultorum amore ac nuptarum adulteriis, quibus Hadrianus laborasse dicitur, adserunt 29 HA, Hadr 14.5, Antinoum suum, dum per Nilum navigat, perdidit, quem muliebriter flevit. de quo varia fama est, aliis eum devotum pro Hadriano adserentibus, aliis quod et form a eius ostentat et nimia voluptas Hadriani. et Graeci quidem volente Hadriano eum consecraverunt, oracula per eum dari adserentes, quae Hadrianus ipse composuisse iactatur While he was sailing the Nile, h e lost his Antinous, whom he wept over like a woma n. There is a different story about him, some saying that he ich


72 emotion in context, probably shame and suggestively alludes to the tale he cannot tell A device otherwise used only in the loftier genres of Latin literature is co opted for biography and reduced in significance, from epic rage to false modesty. The second indication of satire can be seen by a comparison with a similar historical episode: C Tacitus offers a attempted to cleanse hi s court of faithless attendants ; the machinations of Messalina to avoid execution and her ultimate, pathetic death (Tac. Ann als 11.26 38) In the midst of his crisis, Claudius displays strength, exhibiting quiet dignity during the banquet at which he disco vers the affair, 30 but also cowardice and foolishness, asking whether he 31 Tacitus presents a detailed, nuanced account of this affair, showing it as both a personal and political crisis which Claudi us handles ambivalently, sometimes with determination and other times with the silliness that otherwise tainted his career His subsequent decision to remarry is characterized as being driven by his intolerance of the bachelor life, and the ultimate 30 Tac., Annals 11.38, nuntiatumque Claudio epulanti perisse Messalinam, non distincto sua an aliena manu. nec ille quaesivit, poposcitque poculum et solita convivio celebravit. ne s ecutis quidem diebus odii gaudii, irae tristitiae, ullius denique humani adfectus signa dedit, non cum laetantis accusatores aspiceret, non cum filios maerentis. iuvitque oblivionem eius senatus censendo nomen et effigies privatis ac publicis locis demoven das although it was not made clear whether it was by her or ; and he demanded his cup and performed his customary tasks at the banquet. Not even in the following days did he give indications of hatred, of joy, of anger, of sorrow, of any human feeling at all, not when he looked upon the joyful accusers, nor when he looked up his mourning sons. And the senate aided in wiping out her memory by decree 31 Tac., Annals 11.31, satis constat eo pavore offusum Claudium ut identidem interrogaret an ipse imperii potens, an Silius privatus esset was overwhelmed with such hear


73 decisi on pushed along by the blatant sexuality of Agrippina. 32 The tale concludes shamefully for Claudius, but within the parameters of his character that Tacitus had already established; likewise, Messalina is portrayed as manipulative, ambitious, and wicked Al though the description of the empress is seen through the lens of male privilege, 33 the account of her acts is guided by history in the Annals are similarly unfair but nuanced At one point she schem es with Suillius to kill a man, a major actor in the plot but not the sole mastermind Another time she is Although she does not spare his life, she still manages to show complexity of character When her sins are revealed, she abandons the bravado with which Tacitus otherwise portrays her She and cannot force herself to take her own life hu man, but human nonetheless, with a pathology that can be teased out from the biased depiction (Tac., Ann als 11.2). Suetonius, meanwhile, tells the same story with many of the same details editing them only further his moral purposes : he abridges the execution and expands upon the remarriage, adding the significant detail that Claudius hypocritically swore he would never marry again but soon weds Agrippina (Suet., Claud ius 26) Together, Tacitus and 32 Tac., Annals 12.1 2, Caede Messalinae convulsa principis domus, orto apud libertos certamine, quis deligeret uxorem adiuta Agrippinae inlecebris: ad eum per speciem necessitudinis crebro ventitando pellicit patruum ut praelata ceteris et nondum uxor potentia uxoria iam uteretur se of the emperor was rocked by the slaughter of Messalina, with a contest raised among the freedmen of who would choose a wife for won out, helped by the enticements of Agrippina: by constantly visiting him under the pretext of their kinship, she seduced her uncle, so that, being preferred above the rest and though not yet his wife, she 33 Pagn 2006, 67.


74 Suetonius present a balanced accoun t of the Messalina saga. She is not a schemer at first but an accessory, one among many in the grandiose mediocre British campaign (Suet., Claudius 17) Suetonius shows from the outset that he cares less about Messalina the person or even Messalina the character than how she reflects upon the biographical subject I n the him children she is reduced to a mere name (Suet., Claudius 27) Suetonius describes paranoia and gullibility; she is a faceless actor in the ity play (Suet., Claudius 37) Suetonius does not paint a portrait of the empress but that is not his goal Moral biography trades in simple portraits. 34 Suetonius and Tacitus create harmonious pictures of Messalina in the context of the generic ambitions of each, but the empress never quite exceeds the realm of probability. Unlike the historical and biographical accounts, the satirical account eschews a stri ct narrative in place of a stylized account emphasizing the depravity of all parties The first half opens with an address to a hypothet ical interlocutor: what would you tell to the man whom the The satire makes no pretense to objectivity, putting both reader and speaker on intimate terms with its subject Juvenal describes re to be married to her lover as the motivation behind the The second half of the poem suddenly switches from a hypothetical interlocutor to a direct address to Silius The speaker asks the man with mock sympathy what choice he has: 34 Cox 1983, 12 16.


75 whether to refuse the marriage and die, or acquiesce and be killed by Claudius a short time later The emphasis shifts once more to the ignorance of the emperor, the last to learn of his wif The satiric version gives Messalina all the power: she is the subject of decisive verbs like destinat and controls her own fate, while the two men govern only verbs in subordinate clauses and are relegated to a subordinate position Even so, the vignette ends on an ironic note, for Claudius will, in spite of h is incompetence, kill her (Juv. 10.329 45) Juvenal recasts the historical account in a perfectly satiric vein, but one that follows generally the accounts of Suetonius and Tacit us In Satire 6, however, Juvenal accuses her of waiting for Claudius to fall sleep and sneaking off to brothels to sate her lust, which surpassed the stamina of professional whores and the willingness of pimps to keep their doors open She would then slink back home to the palace The speaker concludes with a succinct enumeration spells, poisons, infanticide against which, he says, the lust pales (Juv. 6.115 35) Yet why did the poet give only two lines to the more te rrible crimes but devote eighteen to the lesser? Juvenal operates in the satiric mode, excoriating the willful adulteress (who again takes the active role, both grammatically What is more, n either Tacitus nor Suetonius tell this story; Pliny the Elder mentions that Messalina once competed against a prostitute and bested her in a contest of sexual endurance, 35 but even this lustful episode does not approach the 35 Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia 10.172, Messalina Claudi Caesaris coniunx, regalem hanc existimans palmam, elegit in id certamen nobilissimam e prostitutis ancillam mercenariae stipis eamque nocte ac die superavit quinto atque vicensimo concubitu salina, the consort of Claudius Caesar, thinking this to be a royal honor, chose for that challenge the noblest of the prostitutes, a slavegirl of mercantile stock, and she bested her in a night and a day with her twenty


76 I have lingered upon Messalina to demonstrate the different approaches offered by history, biography and satire towards the same story History and biography adapt a story for a particular narrative means while adhering generally to the fact s The satiric approach, meanwhile, is to exaggerate, to carry beyond all accepted measure and leave the audience befuddled by the end exactly the approach adopted by the Historia Augusta toward Hadrian and Antinous Humor Excessive food and sexuality should disgust the reader but by the end of the Historia Augusta such scenes lose their impact; given such a concentration of fraud, the moral dangers of consuming an entire 200 pound bird per day have no tract ion Instead, the scenes evoke anot her primal reaction: laughte r. While Proculus is the most egregious example of ridiculous consumption, virtually every other gustatory scene in the Historia Augusta can be interpreted through the lens of humor Likewise, scenes of sexual wrongdoing do not merely disgust the reader I nstead of suggesting forbidden desire (for what good Roman citizen would have wished to be wife to a slave?) the only response is laughter. Elagabalus so loved Hierocles that he often gave him kisses on the groin something which shames the author even to say ( quod dictu etiam inverecundum est ), although he says it nonetheless 36 The image itself may shock a cues one in to the humor : protestations of modes ty mean little after the fact. In a society where rape provided the impetus of many theatrical 36 HA, Elagab 6.5, Hieroclen vero sic amavit, ut eidem inguinal oscularetur, quod dictu etiam inverecundum est, Floralia sacra se adserens celebrare ing the rites of the


77 comedies, Proculus and his hundred maidens would inspire laughter through sheer excess Debased sexuality can inspire laughter by mocking t he debauched and the debaucher, but even the non sexualized lower bodily stratum naturally invites humor The Jews are said to have started a war after they were forbidden to practice circumcision, a custom and casus belli which would be absurd to a pagan. 37 In fact, Dio tells the more probable story that the war actually began because of the founding of a temple to Jupiter in the province of Judaea. 38 To change the cause of war from serious religious oppression to the lower bodily stratum makes the tale ridi culous. Laughter also emerges from a key element of play: jokes Slowly, under the pretext of genuine etymological research, the Historia Augusta offers various reasons why the emperor received his agnomen In the Vita Hadriani the virtues of Pius seem manifest: aiding an elderly relative, saving senators, conferring honors upon the deceased emperor. 39 The treatment seems sound, but the nobility of these deeds is undercut in the Vita Antonini Pii : helping father in law is no virtue, although failure to do so is a v ice; from some illness on which Pius merely gave advice; and the honors given to the deceased Hadrian were almost 37 HA, Hadr 14.2, moverunt ea tempestate et Iudaei bellum, quod vetabantur mutilare genitalia 38 Cass. Dio, 69.12.1 r top of the one that was destroyed, which he also named the Aelian Capitoline, and when he raised another temple to Zeus in the place of the temple to their God, a war neither small nor short 39 HA, Hadr 24, et Antoninus quidem Pius idci rco appellatus dicitur quod socerum fessum aetate manu sublevaret, quamvis alii cognomentum hoc ei dicant inditum, quod multos senatores Hadriano iam saevienti abripuisset alii, quod ipsi Hadriano magnos honores post mortem detulisset Pius is said to have been so called because he lifted up his father in law, worn out in his age, with his hand; although some say that this cognomen was given to him because he had snatched away many senators from Hadrian while he was in a rage, and others bec ause he had declared great honors for


7 8 universally reproved. 40 That Pius stopped Hadrian from killing himself may be seen as interference with the proper course of an honorable Roman death, 41 42 A reader could feel contempt, confusion, or amusement at an author who willfully undermines his own work All three attitudes ar e appropriate for satire. Soon, the pretense of legitimate etymological research is abandoned and becomes an excuse to indulge in puns In the Vita Avidii Cassii one of the Nebenvitae the author cites a supposed letter f coregent Verus wherein he calls Avidius avidus 43 The Latin text puts the key words, Avidius and avidus side by side to emphasize the pun. This 40 Ant. Pius 2.3 7, Pius cognominatus est a senatu, vel quod soceri fessi iam aetatem manu praesente senatu levaret (quod quidem non satis magnae pietatis est argumentum, cum impius sit magis qui ista non faciat, quam pius qui debitum reddat), vel quod eos quos Hadrianus per malam valetudinem occidi iusserat, reservavit, vel quod Hadriano contra omnium studia post mortem infinitos atque immensos honores decrevit, vel quod, cum se Hadrianus inte rimere vellet, ingenti custodia et diligentia fecit, ne id posset admittere, vel quod vere natura clementissimus et nihil temporibus suis asperum fecit in law ( who was worn out then) with his hand before the senate (which is not a sufficient proof of great piety, since he is more impious who does not do those things than he is pious who performs what he ought), or because he saved those men whom Hadrian had order ed to be killed because of his poor health, or because he decreed honors boundless and tremendous honors on Hadrian after his death, against the wishes of all, or because, when Hadrian wanted to kill himself, he acted with great care and diligence so that he could 41 Gris 1982. 42 Seneca, De Clementia written for the paradigmatic bad emperor, Nero, demonstrates the thin line between mercy and weakness. 1.3.4, Ad rem pertinet quaerere hoc loco, quid sit misericordia; plerique enim ut virtutem eam laudant et bonum hominem vocant misericordem. Et haec vitium animi est per speciem enim severitatis in crudelitatem incidimus, per speciem clementiae in misericordiam I t has a bearing on the question to for the majority of men praise it as a virtue sternness, we fall into pity by 43 Avid. Cass 1.6 7, Vero autem illum parasse insidias ipsius Veri epistula indicat, quam inserui. ex epistula Veri: 'Avidius Cassius avidus est, quantum et mihi videtur et iam inde sub avo meo, patre tuo, innotuit, imperii father, for the throne.


79 statement cannot belong to Verus; 44 the Historia Augusta intentionally weaves an awful joke into the narrative More follow: Pertinax was so named because his father built his timber business pertinaciter 45 Septimius Severus (full name Caesar Lucius Septimius Severus Eusebes Pertinax Augustus) is said to have killed men for saying that he was t ruly severus, pertinax 46 T he pretenders Pescennius Niger and Clodius Albinus have a poem written about them, supposedly translated from the Greek, stating that fuscus albus merely good. 47 Since the pun of albus on Albinus only works in Latin, it cannot be an authentic translation from Greek T he author has again inserted his own joking voice The most egregious nominal pun is that the pretender Regalianus was driven to seek the thrown because of the declension of his name: rex, regis, regi, Regalianus. 48 Sometimes the Historia Augusta crafts its puns from authentic historical 44 The letters in the Historia Augusta ar e universally considered to be forgeri es by the author. See Homo 1926; Momigliano 1954, 25 6; Gabba 1981, 54. 45 HA, Pert 1, Publio Helvio Pertinaci pater libertinus Helvius Successus fuit, qui filio nomen ex continuatione lignariae negotiationis, quod per tinaciter eam rem gereret, imposuisse fatetur freedman Helvius Successus was father to Publius Helvius Pertinax, who is said to have given his name 46 Sev 14.13, damnabantur autem plerique, cur iocati essent, alii, cur tacuissent, alii, cur pleraque figurata dixissent, ut "ecce imperator vere nominis sui, vere Pertinax, vere Severus many were condemned for the reason that they had t old jokes, others for the reason that they had stayed emperor truly of his own name, truly pertinacious, truly severe. 47 Pesc. Nig. 8, Denique Delfici A fudisse dicitur: 'optimus est Fuscus, bonus Afer, pessimus Albus Swarthy One is the best, the African good, the White One the worst. 48 HA, Tyr. Trig ., 10.6, Mirabile fortasse videatur, si quae origo imperii eius fuerit declaretur. capitali enim ioco regna promeruit. nam cum milites cum eo quidam cen arent, exstitit vicarius tribuni qui diceret: "Regaliani nomen unde credimus dictum?" alius continuo, "Credimus quod a regno". tum iis qui aderat scholasticus coepit quasi grammaticaliter declinare et dicere, "Rex, regis, regi, Regalianus". milites, ut est hominum genus pronum ad ea quae cogitant, "Ergo potest rex esse?" item alius, "Ergo potest nos regere?" item alius, "Deus tibi regis nomen imposuit" what the beginning of his rule was; for he gained his reign by wonderful joke. For when some soldiers


80 circumstance A senatorial wag recommends that the em peror Caracalla receive the cognomen of Geticus in honor of his victory over the Getae fully aware that that the emperor had recently murdered his brother Geta. 49 The emperor Aurelian requests a similar name for himself in honor of his victory over the Carp i, Carpisclum which is also the name for a type of shoe. 50 The constant humor degrades its imperial targets, but the cri nge worthy quality degrades the biographies themselves Punning on names is not unique to the Historia Augusta Suetonius notes that Tiberius was so renowned for drinking during his days as a soldier that his full name, 51 Even the Bible puns 52 The difference lies in the tone and usage of the puns Suetonius and Matthew merely relate the fact of the were dining with him, there was a p Whence do we believe that the name of We Then a lecturer who was present began alm The soldiers, as they are a sort of people inclined towards those Therefore, Go 49 HA, Carac. 10.6, nam cum Germanici et Parthici et Arabici et Alamannici nomen adscriberet (nam Alamannorum gentem devicerat) Helvius Pertinax, filius Pertinacis, dicitur ioco dixisse, "Adde, si placet, etiam Geticus Maximus," quod Getam occiderat fratrem, et Gothi Getae dicerentur, quos ille, dum ad orientem transiit, tumultuariis proeliis devicerat Germanicus and Arabicus and Alamannicus (for he had conquer ed the nation of the Alamanni), the son of his brother, and the Goths would be called the Getae, whom he had conquered while he crossed to the east in 50 HA, Aurel 30.4, Pacato igitur oriente in Europam Aurelianus rediit victor atque illic Carporum copias adflixit et, cum illum Carpicum senatus absentem vocasset, mandasse ioco fertur: "Superest, patres conscripti, ut me etiam Carpiscul um vocetis." carpisclum enim genus calciamenti esse satis notum est numbers of the Carpi there, and although the senate had named his Carpicus while he was gone, he is said t It remains, Conscript Fathers, for y ou to name me also 51 Suet., Tib erius 42, In castris tiro etiam tum propter nimiam vini aviditatem pro Tiberio "Biberius," pro Claudio "Caldius," pro Nerone "Mero" vocabatur 52 Matthew 16:


81 evangelist to relate the origins of his church and the nature of Jesus The Hist oria Augusta however, invents most of its puns, and for every pun which arguably advances some moral (as in the case of Septimius Severus) there are as many which serve no apparent end (like with Pertinax and Regalianus) The Historia Augusta entertains, it does not instruct. One of the most interesting of these verbal jokes is the pluralization of the names of emperors The first occurs in the Vita Clodii Albini when the subject of the biography, wrongly thinking that he could claim the throne, gives an exhortation to his troops that, if the Republic still had its power, Rome would not have fallen prey to the Vitelliuses, nor the Neros, nor the Domitians. 53 This rhetorical plural is a conventional but effective technique, common in all eras of Latin liter ature. 54 Its third person perspective characterize s a class of people: in the Annals Tacitus often draws upon the name of Republican stalwarts to contrast the sad times of the empire. 55 The Historia Augusta works differently Whereas the rhetorical plural u sually draws upon heroes of the past, here the pluralized persons are explicitly condemned This too would not arouse too much notice if not for the subsequent frequency of this rare usage: six more times in the next eighteen books. 56 This is comparable to y, but not his sense of 53 HA, Clod Alb. 13.5, Si senatus populi Romani suum illud vetus haberet imperium, nec in unius potestate res tanta consisteret, non ad Vitellios neque ad Nerones ne que ad Domitianos publica fata venissent 54 Gudeman 18 94, 236. 55 E.g., Tac., Annals 1.10, 1.28, 2.33, 16.22. 56 HA, Elagab 1.2, Alex. Sev 9.4, Aurel 42.6, Tacit 6.4, Carus 1.4, 3.3. The reference in the Vita Taciti deserves special mention, for it combines both puns and pluaralization: enimvero si recolere velitis vetusta illa prodigia, Nerones dico et Heliogabalos et Commodos, seu potius semper Incommodos


82 decorum T he historian follows the rules of proper style, occasionally twisting the m for effect, while the Historia Augusta neglects convention and bludgeons the reader with the unexpected so much so that it becomes trite Like a novice debater who has just discovered sarcasm, the effect is lost and descends to the realm of the laughable. The Historia Augusta is not unique in its abuse of the rhetorical plural Julian uses this same device in the same way in his Caesares albeit less often Amidst the real princes of note Alexander, Augustus, Marcus Aurelius the narrator also describes an assembly of second class emperors, the Vindexes, Galbas, Othos, and Vitelliuses, whom the divine jester Silenus moc 57 Although Julian only indulges in the rhetorical plural once, his work, being a satire on emperors written in the midst of radical cultural upheaval, seems a likely influence for the Historia Augusta The biography appropri ate s and intensifies its satiric effect by constant usage The presence of so many jokes suggests a satiric context, but the text of the Historia Augusta is more than suggestive, abounding with iocere and its various derivatives. T he rate of use accelerates as the collection continues Puns and jokes, however, have a long standing pedigree in ancient biography: Suetonius recalled a pun Commoduses or rather, the ever 57 Ju lian, Caes , Then, many people of all sorts came together, Vindexes, Galbas, Othos, Where did you find the horde of these monarchs,


83 for his conical head. 58 In fact, Suetonius uses iocere and its derivatives with greater frequency than the Historia Augusta : forty three times over the course of just twelve biographies. 59 usage, however, is very different Words like iucundus never introduce amusing anecdote s or scurrilous verse but describe people and events. 60 I ocus which literally refer s to a joke told, is often onl y a component of a more important event: for instance, Caligula once burnt a poet to death for a joke in an At ellan farce told 61 The joke is not the focus but part of a more Suetonius does not refrain from relating a joke if it is known, but he can content himself to write abo ut the joke This stands in sharp contrast with the usage of jokes in the Historia Augusta which takes every opportunity to tell the reader a joke even a fake one Such emphasis on humor characterizes the satirical content in the Historia Augusta In the Historia Augusta one can find humor in less obvious ways In the Vita Commodi honor: Commodus for August, Hercules for September, Invictus for October, 58 Plutarch, Per 3. 3 , the form of his body, but long in his head and uneven. Thus almost all his statues are surrounded with helmets, with the artists, as is likely, not wanting to insult him. squill head. 59 S uet., Jul ius 4.2, 20.2, 45.2, 49.4, Aug ustus 53.1, 53.2, 56.1, 67.2, 71.3, 75.1, 86.2, 98.3, 98.5, Tib erius 21.4, 38.1, 42.1, Cal igula 9.1, 27.4, 33.1, Claud ius 21.5, Nero 5.2, 6.2, 16.2, 25.3, 27.1, 28.1, 33.1, 33.2, 34.1, 34.2, 42.2, Gal ba 20.2, Vit elliu s 10.2, Ves pasianus 22.1, 23.4, Tit us 3.2, 7.2, Dom itianus 10.2, 18.2. 60 E.g., Suet., Tit us 7.2, conuiuia instituit iucunda magis quam profusa 61 Suet. Cal igula 27.4, Atellanae poetam ob ambigui ioci uersiculum m edia amphitheatri harena igni cremauit


84 Exsuperatorius for November, and Amazonius for December. 62 Again, the author of novel letters of the alphabet 63 The Historia Augusta however, differs in two respects: first, it only mentions that In fact, Dio says that all twelve months were changed to honor Commodus. 64 Moreover, he does not merely mention the new months, but it incorporates them later in the biography including the months not explicitly mentioned befo re The Historia Augusta dates events in the Herculeus, became a priest in all colleges thirteen days before the Kalends of Invictus, invaded German fourteen days before the Kalend s of Aelius, and was ordered to be preserved in perpetuity eleven days before the Kalends of Romanus. 65 Nowhere else 62 HA, Comm 11.8, Menses quoque in honorem eius pro Augusto Commodum, pro Sept embri Herculem, pro Octobri Invictum, pro Novembri Exsuperatorium, pro Decembri Amazonium ex signo ipsius adulatores vocabant 63 Suet., Claud ius 41.3, Novas etiam commentus est litteras tres ac numero veterum quasi maxime 64 Cass. Dio them up thus: Amazonius, Invic tus, Felix, Pius,Lucius, Aelius, Aurelius, Commodus Augustus, Herculeus, Romanus, Exsuperatorius. 65 HA, Comm. 11.13 12.7, n ominatus inter Caesares quartum iduum Octobrium, quas Herculeas postea nominavit, Pudente et Pollione consulibus. appellatus Germani cus idibus Herculeis Maximo et Orfito consulibus. adsumptus est in omnia collegia sacerdotalia sacerdos XIII kal. Invictas Pisone Iuliano consulibus. profectus in Germaniam XIIII Kal. Aelias, ut postea nominavit cum patre appellatus imperator kal. Exsupera torias Pollione et Apro iterum consulibus. triumphavit X kal. Ian iisdem consulibus. iterum profectus III nonas Commodias Orfito et Rufo consulibus. datus in perpetuum ab exercitu et senatu in domo Palatina Commodiana conservandus XI kal. Romanas Praesente iterum consule was named among the Caesars four days before the Ides of October, which he afterwards called Herculeus, in the consulship of Pudens and Pollio. He was called Germanicus on the Ides of Herculeus, in the consulship of Maximus and Orfitus He was entered into all sacerdotal colleges as a priest 13 days before the Kalends of Invictus, in the consulship of Piso and Julian. He set out against Germany 14 days with his father, he was called emperor on the Kalends of Exsuperatorius, in the consulship of Orfitus and Rusus. He was given to be preserved forever by the army and the senate at his home, the Commodian Palace, 11 days before the Kalends of Romanus, when Praesens was consul aga in.


85 do es the Historia Augusta offer such detail; its scheme is pure humor. Vulgarity suffuses the Historia Augusta Biography emphasizes the common and scandalous, but the thirty vitae of the Historia Augusta exaggerate and exult in these themes Imperial indulgence is not merely extravagant, it is Petronian; jokes not only provide insight into the private world of an emperor but wordsmanship; the worst emperors a re not just worse than Nero or Caligula, they are worse than multiple Neros or Caligulas. The u biquity of these low elements highlights their satiric qualities, turning every base indulgence into a comic scene Some of the vulgarity may shock, some may entertain, some ma y be the bizarre play of a perverse imagination, but all is essential to the Historia Augusta and deepens its generic connections with the satiric.


86 CHAPTER 4 NARRATIVE AMBIGUITY Narrative ambiguity manifests itself in the Historia Augusta through untruth One might question the worth of historical truth in biography While Plutarch was a remarkable steward of his sources, 1 Suetonius was no strict adherent to facts: Caligula a horse to the Senate is reported as rumor, 2 and the details in the Vita Neronis (particularly his physical description) were inf preconceptions of Nero 3 None of these libertie s, however, approach the license that the Historia Augusta takes with its subjects. In the Eastern empire miraculous lives of the Christian saints and of nigh messianic pagans became popular, 4 but in the Late Antique Latin world biographies both Christian and pagan cleaved to factual representations of men, whether the sensationa listic work of Marius Maximus, the polemic but largely non supernatural biographies by Jerome, or the sensible imperial lives of the postulated Ignotus 5 Biography in the West never fully abandoned a tradition of research and accuracy in its efforts to elucidate the character, and its authors always tried to pre sent 1 Lamberton 2001, 13 7. E Vita Romuli and Vita Thesei though entirely mythical, rely upon what were held at the time to be valid and intellectually honest investigative methods; Wardman 1974, 161 8. 2 Plass 1988, 9, on Suet., Calig ula 55.3, consulatum quoque traditur destinasse 3 Barton 1994, 51 of wicked femininity), and contrad ict s 1994, 57 8, and the physiognomic treatises cited therin. 4 Cox 1983, 17 Life of Origen Life of Apollonius of Tyana and Life of Pythag oras and Life of Plotinus 5 Ammianus has the definitive statement on the worth of Marius Maximus: Amm. Marc. 28.4.14, Quidam detestantes ut venena doctrinas, Iuvenalem et Marium Maximum curatiore studio legunt, nulla volumina praeter haec in profundo otio contrectantes and Marius Maximus with excessive zeal, dealing with no other books besides these in their abundant De Viris Illustribus avoids any attribution o f miracles, instead focusing on the secular careers of various important figures. For Ignotus see Syme 1968, 92, 177, and Syme 1971, 30 53.


87 if not the strictly true t hen at least the probable. 6 This is where the Historia Augusta differs for it often violates even possibility The untruths in the Historia Augusta can be evaluated in two major categories: those false statements that can be verified by external sources and those made by the about himself Within these categories, the ambiguous elements fall on a spectrum of probability, ranging from the impossible at one extreme to the historically verifiable at the other Most are somewhere in between, possible but unprovable It is the interplay of the different points on the spectrum within a single work that mark satiric ambiguity in the Historia Augusta Internal Ambiguity Ambiguity comes most obviously from falsehood s in the historical content of the Historia Augusta The earliest examples are subtle: the emperor Hadrian is said to have be en born at Rome, although another passage in the same biography suggests that the the city of Italica; 7 one of his adoptive guardians, Acilius Attianus, is misnamed as Caelius Attianus; 8 and the coregent is set in the same year that he was adopted, although he was actually praetor a few years 6 Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria 4.2.89, Sed utrumcumque erit, prima sit curarum ut id quod fingemus fieri possit, deinde ut et personae et loco et tempori congruat et credibilem rationem et ordinem habeat whichever it will be, let the first of our concerns be that what we create can happen, then that it agrees with the character and the place and the time and h too is for oratory, not history or biography. 7 Compare HA, Hadr 1.3, Natus est Romae with 1.1, Hadria ortos maiores suos apud Italicam Scipionum temporibus resedisse in libris vitae suae Hadrianus ipse commemorat 8 HA, Hadr 1.4, Attianum equitem Romanum tutores habuit Ulpius Trajan, the praetorian, and Caelius Attianus, the Roman kni found on an inscription from Elba, Rmische Mitteilungen 18.63 7, cited in Magie 1921, 4 n. 2.


88 before. 9 T he majority of the Vita Hadriani is genuine and factual, 10 as is its Nebenvita the Vita Aelii which derives its content from its superior companion life. 11 The triviality of these early untruths belies the outrageous stories to follow. The integrity of the Historia Augusta first shows cracks in the Vita Marci Aurelii ear lier declarations in the Historia Augusta 12 T he Vita Commodi contradicts Dio twice, first in its vicious characterization of t 13 and excoriation of Perennis cannot abolish its falsehood, 14 and e pigraphic evid ence proves the Historia 9 HA, Hadr 23.11 13, adoptavit ergo Ceionium Commodum Verum invitis omnibus eumque Helium praetura honoravit Ael 3.1 2. n. 3 and Birley 2000, 246. 10 provided an unassailable foundation 11 Syme 1971, 54 77. 12 HA, Marc 5.1, adoptaret would adopt Lucius Ant. Pius 4.5, adoptionis lex huiusmodi data est, ut quemadmodum Antoninus ab Hadriano adoptabatur ita sibi ille adoptaret M. Antoninum, fratris uxoris suae filium, et L. Verum, Helii Veri, qui ab Hadriano adoptat us fuerat, filium, qui postea Verus Antoninus est dictus law of adoption was given as such, that, just as Antoninus had been adopted by Hadrian, so would lius Verus (who had been adopted by Hadrian), who afterwards was called Verus Antoninus. 13 HA, Comm 5.6, quos voluit interemit, spoliavit plurimos, omnia iura subvertit, praedam omnem in sinum contulit he perverted all the laws; he was thus killed, who des erved least of all to suffer this, both on his on account and for that of the entire empire 14 Herod. ( Commodus, however many as pretended to support him, being also long and hostilely disposed towards Perennis (for he was offensive and unbearable in his scorn and hubris).


89 Augusta wrong on the details of the calendar. 15 So many petty errors accrue throughout the early lives of the collection that their accumulated weight signal s to the reader the more substantial inaccuracies of the later lives 16 The Vita Severi is an excellent case study in the disintegration of narrative cohesion in the Historia Augusta It claims that Commodus planned to offer the title of Caesar to Clodius 17 and that Geta was given the name Antoninus. 18 The first statement has no historical basis, while the Historia Augusta 19 Caracalla even receives two distinct birth stories within this biography. 20 Most of the Vita Severi is genuine; the Historia Augusta prefers to increase the degree of falsehoods rather than their quantity This paradigm continues over the rest of the collection, culminating in th e 15 Magie 1921, 292, n. 2. 16 For instan ce, HA, Comm 17.10 claims that Commodus replaced the head of Nero on the Colossus Sev 3.6 claims that a legion was near Marseilles that had not been stationed in the West for over a century, and never in Marseilles. Although the Historia Augusta has a very troubled manuscript tradition (Ballou 1914), it is unlikely that all these mistakes could be thus explained. 17 HA, Sev 6.9, eodem tempore etiam de Clodio Albino sibi substituendo cogitavit, cui Caesareanum decretum auctore Commodo iam videbatur imperium its baseless assertions at HA, Clod Alb 2.1, 6.4 5, and 13.4. 18 HA, Sev 10.5, unde Getam etiam quidam Antoninum putant dictum, ut et ipse succederet in imperium. 6 aliqui putant idcirco illum Antoninum appellatum, quod Severus ipse in Marci familiam tra nsire voluerit Antoninus so he would succeed to the throne; thus, others think that he was named Antoninus Reiterated at Sev 16.4, 19.2, Get 1, 5.3. 19 HA, Diad 6.9, 20 From a former marriage: HA, Sev 20.2, Antoninum scilicet Bassianum quidem ex priore matrimonio susceperat et Getam de Iulia genue rat Sev 3.9 4.2, eandem uxorem petiit, Iuliam scilicet, et filium sought the same wife, that is, Julia, and wed hear with the help of his friends. He immediately became a


90 Tyranni Triginta in which the author invents several pretenders who never existed and forges outlandish honors for them, including a senatus consultum conferring honor upon the fictional brigand and pretender 21 P atent lies pepper the last third o f the Historia Augusta. 22 Nevertheless kernels of truth app ear throughout the entire collection Herodian and Dio confirm many of the salacious tales concerning Elagabalus, including his effeminacy and probable transgenderism Even the preposterous final biographies which consist of little more forged imperial missives, contain some truth the tales of such pretenders as Macrianus and Odenaethus in the Tyranni Triginta are internally coherent and accord with the testimony of Zonaras, 23 while Firmus, Saturni nus, Proculus, and Bonosus receive accurate introductions before the biograp hy descends into fantasy The Historia Augusta interweaves truth and falsehood. Any reader would find it a challenge to reconcile such a baffling juxtaposition but the Historia Au gusta amplifies the obfuscation with ambiguous information that can neither be confirmed nor refuted Marcus Aurelius is said to have been sparing of donatives, and Dio indeed records that he once refused his soldiers 24 21 For the fake names Celsus, Saturninus, and Tr ebellianus, see Magie 1932, 84 n. 1 and Ba rnes 1972. The fake S.C. de Pisone appears at HA, Tyr. Trig 21.3, Senatus consultum de Pisone factum ad noscendam eius maiestatem libenter inserui cree then follows. 22 For instance, HA, Aurel. 30.5 for a type of show, after conquering the Carpi; Tacit 8.1 invents a liber elephantinus a modification of the libri lintei ; Claud 6.4 and Prob 8.7 drastically overestimate the number of the enemy slain by their emperors in battle. 23 See Magie 1932, 94 101, 104 7, and notes. 24 glorious victory had been obtained, all the same, the emperor, though petitioned by the soldiers, did not


91 Yet numismatic records show that he relented on at least seven occasions including a very generous bestowal up on his accession. 25 The tale falls between the cracks of absolute truth or falsehood, complicating the narrative integrity Two of the most frequent frauds ar e the poetry that recurs throughout the lives and the bogus names that the author cites The poems claim to have been translated from Greek into Latin by some inferior translator, 26 but it seems that they are a product of the same imagination that produced the rest of the Historia Augusta 27 One, at least, is a pastiche of Vergil and Horace, although it claims to have been originally Hellenic. 28 The quantity and shoddy quality of the verses, as well as the nearly identical apologies for the Latin translator, s trongly sug gest that the author invent ed them wholesale Nevertheless, two of these poems appear in ancient anthologies, showing that the Historia Augusta borrowed at least some of the poetry as it claims. 29 The existence of the models for even two of the poems puts them all into doubt except for those like the 25 HA, Marc 23.2, ipse in largitionibus p ecuniae publicae parcissimus fuit mismatically attested donatives: Cohen 1883, 41 4 n. 401 27 and 26 The first such poem comes from HA, Pesc. Nig 8.1, Optimus est Fuscus, bonus Afer, pessimus Albus Thes e poems are very frequent thereafter: e.g., HA, Pesc. Nig. 8.4, 12.6; Macr 11.4, 11.6, 14.2; Diad 7.3; Alex. Sev. 14.4, 18.5, 38.3 6; Maximin. 8.4; Aurel. 6.5, 7.2. 27 Den Hengst 2010, 130 9, argues convincingly that they are inspired by the poems of Auso nius. 28 HA, Pesc. Nig 8.6, bis denis Italum conscendit navibus aequor / si tamen una ratis transiliet pelagus but Aeneid 1.381, bis denis Phrygium conscendi nauibus aequor and Hor., Carm ina 1.3.23 si tamen inpiae / non tangenda rates transiliunt vada First found by Dessau, cited in den Hengst 1981, 52. Den Hengst 2010, 152 also identifies Tacit ., 31.9, errorem meum memor historiae dil igentiae tuae eruditionis avertit as influenced by Ausonius, Caesares 1 2 incipiam a divo percurramque ordine cunctos / novi Romanae quos memor historiae The phrase memor historiae only appears in these two passages in the whole of extant Latin literatu re. 29 The verses at HA, Gall 11.8 are found in extended form at Riese 1870, 160 = Baehrens 1882, 103 4, and those at HA, Tyr. Trig 11.5 have survived in the Greek original at Kaibel 1890, 355* (p32*).


92 Probability clashes against uncertainty, leaving the reader in aporia A similar problem emerges with the preponderance of seemingly f alse names Some are authe ntic: epigraphic, historical, and numismatic evidence proves the existence of many of the characters that populate the Historia Augusta 30 On the other unattested and has a very unusual name perhaps an unsubtle allusion to the bane of Theodosius, Eugenius. 31 returns 32 In a more trustwo rthy author, an unknown name would be attributed to In fact it was the quantity of unattested authorities in the Historia Augusta and the anachronism of their names (reminiscent of the late fourth cen tury more than any other time) that suggested the true date of the collection But many other names are uncertain: even the honest parts of the Historia Augus ta are rife with mis spellings, and some men may have simply fallen out of the historical record When confronted with a stranger like Annius Cornicula or Fabius Ceryllianus, 33 even the most diligent prosopographer would have to wonder if this man was the one who slipped through the cracks of history of the collection 30 E.g., see the notes in Magie 1921 for HA, Hadr 5.1 0; Marc 2.4; and Avid. Cass 1.1. Magie 1932 for Tyr Trig 3. 31 Syme 1971, 11; but see also 1 16 and Barnes 1972, 140 82. 32 First at HA, Clod. Alb 5.10; the first change is at Macr. 1, the second at Maximin 12.7, and the last in the same life at 27.7. M agie 1921, xviii, suggests that his name was Aelius Junius Cordus, but given that Cordus is mentioned nowhere else and that the citation at Maximin 12.7, that a speech of Maximinus was his own, was borrowed from Herod. 8, this seems unlikely. The problem of Cordus is a striking example of the ambiguity which the biographies can raise. 33 HA, Gall 17.2, Carus 4.3.


93 are themselves the m ost blatant and the cleverest of the inventions Given the dearth of sources surviving from the Crisis of the Third Century, no ancient reader could have proven or refuted all the names Dependence upon the veracity of the Historia Augusta is a dilemma th at the reader must face too often I n the Vita Elagabali emperor paved the streets of the palace with Lacedaemonian and porphyritic stone that endured to living memory but it had recently been destroyed. 34 This is a challenging statement on many accounts First, it is directly cont radicted by the subsequent life which claims that Alexander Severus first paved the palace with the so called opus Alexandrinum 35 One statement at least must be wrong The claim that the pav ement was recently destroyed means that no contemporary reader could check the veracity of this report be decades before the actual publication of the book T he intermingling of t ruth and fiction strike the reader most forcefully here for when the author mixes them with equal freedom there is no way to know under which rubric they should fall Such a statement in the Historia Augusta regardless of its inherent truth value, contri butes to the sense of aporia which suffuses the narrative. Intermediate Ambiguity A few elements of the Historia Augusta defy characterization as either internal or external but share characteristics of both Usually, these inventions seem organic to the 34 HA, Elagab 24.6, stravit et saxis Lacedaemoniis ac Porphyreticis plateas in Palatio, quas Antoninianas vocavit. quae saxa usque ad nostram m emoriam manserunt, sed nuper eruta et exsecta sunt 35 HA, Alex. Sev 25.7, Alexandrinum opus marmoris de duobus marmoribus, hoc est porphyretico et Lacedaemonio, primus instituit, in Palatio work of marble fro


94 biography but enhance ambiguity based on their presumption of falsehood The bogus are some examples but more exist The fake documents are most prominent Suetonius was studious in his lives about citing the actual text of imperi al speeches or missives; thus, the Historia Augusta includes many documents but they are almost all fraudulent. 36 They appear as early as the Vita Avidii Cassii and even there the fraud is patent: the terrible pun on the name of the emperor, supposedly The most striking is the Letter of Hadrian from the Quadrigae Tyrannorum : purporting to be a letter from the emperor to his brother in law Servian us, it excoriates the Egyptians and has been proven to be false. 37 Others, like Proculus letter about his hundred virgins, are so ludicrous as to defy probability The simple fact that the last several biographies are composed almost entirely of these fraudulent documents darkens the entire enterprise of citation in the collection. A critical featur e of the Historia Augusta is the lacuna that appears in the middle of the collection: from Phillip the Arab through the first part of the reign of Valerian I and II a maddening nothing confronts the reader For most of the scholarly history of the Historia Augusta the lacuna was considered legitimate, but within the past half century the argument has been made that it is a deliberate omission on the part of the author. 38 Den Hengst argues that this was to avoid offending the ruler under whom the aut hor wrote, but the effect is to increase the sense of uncertainty that pervades the Historia Augusta particularly when it refers over the next several lives to events that it should 36 Den Hengst 2010, 109 22. 37 Found at HA, Quad. Tyr. 8. Syme 1968, 60 5 argues against its authenticity. 38 See Birley 1976 and Den Hengst 2010, 195 6.


95 have covered in the gap. 39 More over the lacuna picks up at one of the low est points in the history of the empire, after the emperor Valerian had been taken prisoner by the Persian king Sapor; indeed, it opens with an anonymous, pathetic attempt at mitigating the disaster that was the capture of the emperor. 40 The lacuna introduc es tremendous ambiguity into the Historia Augusta as well as furthering one of the most important themes for the collection, the decline of empire. External Ambiguity I nternal ambiguity is divorced from the persona of the writer; the facts (or lies) stand on their own The intermediate elements begin to violate the boundary between author and subject the internal content of the biography confronts the external biographer Explicit authorial self insertion is a generic convention so it s presence in the His toria Augusta makes sense ; indeed, it is common to both history and biography as a means of assuring the veracity and authority of the writer. 41 The Historia Augusta however, subverts this standard by placing its authorial interjections on all parts of the spectrum of probability Such ambiguity argues for a satiric reading of the Historia Augusta Isolated authorial interjectio ns appear throughout the lives and tend very strongly towards the untrue end of the probability spectrum T he s himself 39 Den Hengst 1981, 70 2 and 2010, 197. 40 HA, Val 1, Sapori regi regum vel soli: Si scirem posse aliquando Romanos penitus vinci, gauderem tibi de victoria, quam praefers. sed quia vel fato vel virtute gens illa plurimum potest, vide ne, quod senem imperatorem cepisti et id quidem fraude, male t ibi cedat et posteris tuis the Sole King: If I knew that the Romans could ever be utterly conquered, I would cheer you in the victory which you declare. But because that people, either by their fate or by their virtue, hav e tremendous power, see to it that it does not turn out badly for you and your descendants that you took an aged 41 Marincola 1997, 1 32.


96 towards the end of the biography of Hadrian When the emperor grew ill and had to contemplate his succession, he first thought of his kinsman reminds the reader that Hadrian had the man killed, as he has alre ady mentioned ut diximus 42 This first explicit appearance by the author in his own wor k offers little confusion, had indeed already been mentioned 43 One might question the skill of an author who tells the same story three times in a short span, but the truth of his assertion that he t old the story cannot be doubted Many authorial statements from the early lives (except for, significantly, the dedications) are equally uncontroversial In the Vita Aelii isolated personal declarations: how little there is to say about Aelius, 44 how the name etymologies of the word Caesar ). 45 The subjective statement brooks no objec tion, and the etymologies are supported by external evidence. 46 42 HA, Hadr. 23.2, factusque de successore sollicitus primum de Serviano cogitavit, quem postea, ut diximus, mori coegit 43 HA, Hadr 15.8, Servianum sororis virum nonagesimum iam annuum agentem, ne sibi superv iveret, mori coegit to die lest he outlive 44 HA, Ael 1.3, et quoniam nimis pauca dicenda sunt 45 HA, Ael 2.3 4, Et quoniam de Caesarum nomine in huius praecipue vita est aliquid disputandum, qui hoc solum nomen indeptus est, Caesarem vel ab elephanto, qui lingua Maurorum caesai dicitur, in proelio caeso, eum qui primus sic appellatus est doctissimi viri et eruditissimi putant dictum, vel quia mortua matre et ventre caeso sit natus, vel quod cum magnis crinibus sit utero parentis effusus, vel quod oculis caesiis et ultra humanum morem viguerit especially in the life of this man who first assumed this name only, the most learned and intellectual men think that he who was first called was so called either from an elephant (which is called the caesai in the language of the Moors) that was felled in battle, or becau se he was born from a dead 46 An elephant appears on a coin of Julius Caesar, Cohen 1880, 17, n. 49; Pliny, Naturalis Historia 7.47 and Isididore, Etymolygiae 9.3.12 offer being cut from the mother; Isidore, id. and Festus, De Verborum


97 Yet the biography concludes with the intention to compose vitae of all emperors from Julius Caesar through Diocletian. 47 writing programs that never existed, 48 but it is also symptomatic of greater falsehood Unlike the internal elements, the fraudulence grows both more intense and more complete Earlier in the Vita Hadriani the author explains that Hadrian had written an autobiography This is unprob lematic Dio suggests the same. 49 The Historia Augusta adds an element which is nowhere else attested, that it was published discreetly, under 50 As Meckler points out, this is too convenient: a biography written und er the names of several pretenders? 51 It is code for the Historia Augusta itself A n old historiographical tradition, citation of eye witnesses also appears It witness Significatu 40 mention being born with hair. Origi nally cited in Magie 1921, 84 5 n. 4 7 (although he wrongly cites F estus, De Verborum Significatu 47). 47 HA, Ael 7.4, mihi propositum fuit omnes, qui post Caesarem dictatorem, hoc est divum Iulium, vel Caesares vel Augusti vel principes appellati sunt, quique in adoptationem venerunt, vel imperatorum filii aut parentes C aesarum nomine consecrati sunt, singulis libris exponere up all those who were after Caesar the Dictator, that is, Divine Julius, and those were adopted, and who were hon ored with the name of the Caesars as sons or 48 Maximin 1.1 3; Gord ., 1.1 Avid. Cass Elagab ., 35; Alex Sev successors needed a nobler hand, is the only one who (mostly) tells the truth, Prob ., 1.5; Quad. Tyr ., 15.10. 49 Cas 50 HA, Hadr 16.1, Famae celebris Hadrianus tam cupidus fuit ut libros vitae suae scriptos a se libertis su is litteratis dederit, iubens ut eos suis nominibus publicarent reputation that he gave books which he had written on his own life to his learned freedmen, order them to 51 Meckler 19 96, 275.


98 Saturninus, and Diocletian; soldier in Persia under Carus and under Diocletian in Nicomedia 52 defies belief. 53 Yet to explore every misce llaneous comment is to overlook the fullest authorial interjections in the collection: the prefaces They usually entail an honorific dedication of the imminent biography to an important imperial figure, either Constantine or Diocletian eror) or a notable figure at Rome, and they frequently provide the The Vita Aelii opens with a bald lie: dead for almost a century when the Historia Augusta was written. 54 All of the prefaces commit this same fraud, setting the dramatic date of composition decades in the past. 55 The misdirection and ambiguity are patent; the real question lies in what the reader should take fro m such an incongruity This early in the collection, the frauds of the Historia Augusta would not strike the reader; someone unfamiliar with strangeness would still think that it under Dioclet ian By the end however, the abundant humor, improbable situations and Historia Augusta clear Critically, the last life is that of three men, Carus, Carinus, and Numerianus, who were f inally bested and replaced by Diocletian Since the dramatic action begins where the collection ends, it suggests to the reader a comparison between the lives in the 52 HA, Quad. Tyr. 9.4, 15.4; Carus 15.1, 13.3. 53 Syme 1971, 256. 54 HA, Ael 1.1, In animo mihi est, Diocletiane Auguste 55 Magie 1921, xii v lays out the conservative interpretation of what the prefaces s Of course, this is not the interpretation under which this dissertation operates.


99 collection, dated to the late second and third centuries, and the age immediately followin g, that of the author. T he preface to the Vita Aelii also follows traditional mode ls of authorial self assertion the originality of his undertaking while apologizing for its scantiness, since previous writers did n ot treat the Caesares and pretenders The claim to have already written a series of biographies up to the emperor Hadrian The reader could not know the truth, even after witnessing the co nstant mendacities of the later lives Today, n o one believes that the biographer wrote lives that replicated the efforts of Suetonius. 56 The first preface intermingles blatant fraudulence and simple truth in such a way that the reader must reconcile confl i cting notions of truth by the end of the Historia Augusta The preface to the Vita Veri is largely uncontroversial It avoids any honorific dedication (Diocletian is addressed only once, at the end of the biography) 57 only explaining its rationale for putting this biograph y after that of Marcus Aurelius although Verus died first. 58 The only oddity is its inclusion in the first group of prefaces, for 56 There is some debate about the beginning of the Historia Augusta Since the collection follows in the Suetonian tradition, and since there is already a supposed lacuna in the text, it is postulated that the Historia Augusta continued Suetonius and began with lives of Nerva and Trajan: Hohl 1927; Hartke 1950, 326 9. The countervailing view, that the biographies were meant to begin with Hadrian, is the majority opinion and that to which I subscribe. See Den Hengst 1981, 14; Meckler 1996. 57 HA, Verus 11.3, cum adhuc post Marcum praeter vestram clementiam, Diocletiane Augus te, imperatorem talem nec adulatio videatur potuisse confingere 58 HA, Verus 1.1 2, Scio plerosque ita vitam Marci ac Veri litteris atque historiae dedicasse ut priorem Verum intimandum legentibus darent, non imperandi secutos ordinem sed vivendi; ego vero, quod prior Marcus imperare coepit, dein Verus, qui superstite periit Marco, priorem Marcum dehinc Verum credidi c elebrandum to history so that they grant that Verus must be put down first for their readers, not following the order of their rule but of their life; but because M arcus began to rule first, then Verus, who died while Marcus

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100 Mommsen once called it one of the Nebenvitae but it is now esteemed in its own right for the original inf ormation contained within The next two prefaces touch upon the same problem of writing about tyranni to which group the subjects of the biographies Avidi us Cassius and Pescennius Niger belong. 59 The concerns are legitimate: the only difference between Aug ustus and tyrannus is who emerged victorious I f an author writes about the loser he can draw the invidious gaze of the victor. 60 The plea for toleration fits the paradigm established in the preface to Verus but in the latter two lives the author emphasize s the contrast between himself and his predecessors more strongly and more paradoxically In the earlier life, he knew that plerosque of previous authors had treated Verus before his co regent Marcus Aurelius since Verus died first Now in the Vita Avidii Cassii and the Vita Clodii Albini because must explain his rationale in terms of his precedent One may suspect whether any such tradition existed for a figure as minor as Verus, but like many suspect statements in the Historia Augusta it cannot be proven The prefaces to the Vita Avidii Cassii and the Vita Pescennii Nigri taken together, make the suspicion stronger In the first life, the author excuse is that previous historians have distorted and neglected their histories, merely 59 HA, Avid Cass 3.1, Sed nos hominis naturam et mores breviter explicabimus. neque enim plura de his sciri possunt, quorum vita m et inlustrare nullus audet eorum causa a quibus oppressi fuerint whose live no one dares even to cast light upon because of those by whom they may be an inaccurate term for the Avidius Cassius since it appears in Chapter 3, but I follow den Hengst 1981, and it is indeed the earliest programmatic statement in the vita 60 Den Hengst 1981, 19 24, describes how tyrannus cam

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101 relating the barest facts. 61 The Historia Augusta denies a tradition, then dec ries it, and still furnishes over ten paragraphs apiece on the two men. A t this point, the illusion of six authors remains The different characterizations of of Avi dius Cassius and Pescennius Niger Vulcacius But the true author shows his hand with the use of a singular phrase, in litteras mittere The phrase occurs fifteen times in the Historia Augusta as the technical term fo r the composition of biography but nowhere else in the history of Latin literature. 62 So striking is the phrase that it gave Dessau some of his strongest linguistic evidence to overthrow the conservative position concerning the authorship of the Historia Au gusta 63 A phrase unprecedented in the Latin language used by two different the accumulation of peculiarities in these three words begins to expose the uncertainty in the Historia Augusta The preface to the Vita Getae by c omparison, offers no confusion; it only highlights one of the explicit themes of the Historia Augusta the nomen Antoninorum 64 61 HA, Pesc Nig 1.1, Rarum atque difficile est ut, quos tyrannos aliorum victoria fecerit, bene mittantur in litteras atque ideo vix omnia de his plene in monumentis atque annalibus habentur. primum enim, quae mag na sunt in eorum honorem ab scriptoribus depravantur, deinde alia supprimuntur, postremo non magna diligentia in eorum genere ac vita requiritur, cum satis sit audaciam eorum et bellum, in quo victi fuerint, ac poenam proferre cult thing to put into letters well those whom the victory of others has made tyrants, and so are hardly all the facts about them fully contained in monuments and annals. For first, the great things which are to their credit are distorted by authors, then other things are suppressed, and then people look into their birth and life with no great effort, since it is 62 Den Hengst 1981, 25 6. At HA, Avid. Cass 3.3; Elagab 1.1, 18.4; Alex. Sev 3.2, 3.5, 48.6; Gord 21.5; Val 8.3; Gall 18.6, 19.1, 21.5; Aurel. 1.8, 24.9; Tacit 11.7; Tyr. Trig 6.7. 63 Dessau 1889, 386 7. 64 HA, Geta 1.1 2, Scio, Constantine Auguste, et multos et Clementiam tuam quaestionem movere po sse cur etiam Geta Antoninus a me tradatur. de cuius priusquam vel vita vel nece dicam, disseram cur et ipsi Antonino a Severo patre sit nomen adpositum. neque enim multa in eius vita dici possunt, qui prius rebus humanis exemptus est quam cum fratre tener et imperium

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102 Unlike the unique phraseology of in litteras mittere the honor accrued to the Antonine emperors and the corresponding honor in which that term was held is a motif of literature of the late empire As such, its prominence in the Historia Augusta is noteworthy but does inherently prove falsehood The final preface of the last Nebenvita retreats from the convolutions hinted at in the Vita Pescennii Nigri and moves towards the true side of the probability spectrum The Historia Augusta foils all expectations. The preface to the Vita Macrini begins to stretch the bounds of plausibility, introducing two of the greatest sins against authe nticity that the author commits: invention of sources and hypocrisy. 65 the paucity of information on pretenders and usurpers and then claims the mantle of good biography for himself by promising to write only w the trivia of another biographer, Junius Cordus. 66 techniques of rhetorical self aggra ndizement; nevertheless, he cannot hide the fraud and hypocrisy Junius Cordus is symptomatic of the problems of the Historia Augusta : an invented man dedicated to the very vices which inundate the Historia Augusta and The preface to the Vita Macrini criticizes Cordus for including Your Clemency, can raise the question of why even Geta Antoninus is treated by me. Before I talk about either his life or death, I shall discus s why the name of Antoninus was granted to him b y his father, Severus, for not much can be said in the life of a one who was erased from human affairs before he held power with his 88; den Hengst 1981, 28 35 and 2010, 145. 65 Den Hengst 2010, 139 suggests that this may be the original beginning of the collection, which the unknown author went back and completed with the lives from the Vita Hadriani to the Vita Getae 66 HA, Macr 1, Vitae illorum principum seu tyrannorum sive Caesarum qui non diu imperaverunt in n ex diversis historicis eruta in lucem proferemus, et ea quidem quae memoratu digna non multum profecit aesars, who did not rule long lie lives of those

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103 reporting tr ivialities whereas proper biography should elucidate the character of its subject instead of indulging in gossip. 67 that are cited when the emperor would go walking, change his food or clothes, advance men professionally appear in the Historia Augusta Most striking is the last category, quos quando promoverit What else would show the true nature of an emperor than whom he favored and for what reasons? Once the collection abandons Neben vitae the narrative ambiguity becomes considerably more pronounced. The internal frauds of the Vita Elagabali are matched by its two prefaces Fo Vita Caligulae then with the extravagances in which he indulged The Historia Augusta however, gives each section a lengthy preface, both of which expose its inherent fraud. 68 The author claims that that he never would have committed Elagabalus 69 The sentiment is expressed with certain satiric indicators the signal phrase in litteras mittere and the use of the rhetorical plural These serve to highlight the fraudulence of the preface, for the author proceeds to offer an outlandish 67 HA, Macr 1, nam et pauca repperit et indigna memoratu, adserens se minima quaeque persecuturum, quasi vel de Traiano aut Pio aut Marco sciendum sit, quotiens processerit, quando ci bos variaverit et quando vestem mutaverit et quos quando promoverit remembrance, declaring that he would pursue every minor detail, as though we had to know how often Trajan or Pius or Marcus appeared, whe n he altered his food, when he changed his clothes, and whom 68 The first part of Suet., Cal igula has no preface, while 22.1 has the famous quip, Hactenus quasi de principe, reliqua ut de monstro narranda sunt talk about the emperor; the rest 69 HA, Elagab 1.1, Vitam Heliogabali Antonini, qui Varius etiam dictus est, numquam in litteras misissem, ne quis fuisse Romanorum principem sciret, nisi ante Caligulas et Nerone s et Vitellios hoc idem habuisset imperium

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104 explanation for his supposed reservations Since the world produces both good and evil, may derive some b enefit by contrasting the lives of good emperors who died in their bed with the wicked who were killed. 70 The comparison between nature and politics is clumsy and his list of emperors includes four Augustus, Vespasian, Titus, and Trajan not treated at all in the Historia Augusta 71 Even the last element of comparison fail s. S t least neglected) by Domitian while s ome of the tyranni in the collection met fates far better t han the hook. 72 The first preface to the Vita Elagabali is a front. T he Historia Augusta lavishes attention on Elagabalus to a degree afforded few others in the collection The second only what pertains to his luxury, since the emperor declared that he would live in that way. 73 What follows is the longest stretch of extravagance in the Historia Augusta te life The fraud of this preface is even more transparent than the first, for no distinction exists between the obscena of 70 HA, Elagab 1.2, sed cum eadem terra et venena ferat et frumentum atque alia salutaria, eadem serpentes et cicures, compensationem sibi lector diligens faciet, cum legerit Augustum, Traianum, Vespasianum, Hadri anum, Pium, Titum, Marcum contra hos prodigiosos tyrannos 71 Accepting the theory that the Historia Augusta begins with Hadrian 72 HA, Elagab 1.3, simul intelleget Romanorum iudicia, quod illi et diu imperarunt et exitu naturali functi sunt, hi vero inter fecti, tracti, tyranni etiam appellati, quorum nec nomina libet dicere he will understand the judgment of the Romans, because some ruled for a long time and met a natural end, but others were killed, drawn, even called tyrants, whose na 73 HA, Elagab 18.4, De huius vita multa in litteras missa sunt obscena, quae quia digna memoratu non sunt, ea prodenda censui quae ad luxuriam pertinebant, quorum aliqua privatus, aliqua iam imperator fecisse perhibetur, cu m ipse e privatis diceret se Apicium, imperatorum vero Othonem et Vitellium imitari remembrance, I determined that I had to present those things which pertained to his luxury, some of which he is said to have done as a private citizen others once he was already emperor, since he said that, of private citizen s

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105 other authors and quae ad luxuriam pertinebant The prefaces pretend to present a compiler of facts, constra ined by the necessity of his task; in fact, they are ironic, misleading the reader and revealing the satiric nature of the Vita Elagabali and thus the Historia Augusta Den Hengst rightly groups together the prefaces for the Vita Maximinorum and the Vita Gordianorum These biographies are the first to group multiple emperors into one book, a pattern that will be repeated for the remainder of the collection. 74 at the beginning of both lives, even mentioning that this deviates from his original design. 75 Vita Aelii to treat every emperor, Caesar and pretender, each in his own book If the author had not draw n otice. The implication of a suggests the fraudulence of the stated authorship. In the Vita Maximinorum a senator, Tatius Cyrillus, is cited as another 76 Like Junius Cordus, he appears nowhere else in the historical records; yet there is no evidence that he did not exist He is also 74 The Vitae Claudii Aureliani Taciti and Probi are the only books spared this compression. 75 HA, Maxim 1.1, Ne fastidiosum esset Clementiae tuae, Constantine maxime, singulos quosque principes vel principum liberos per libros singulos legere, adhibui moderationem, qua in unum volumen duos Maximinos, patrem filiumque, congererem greatest Constantine, to read all of the princes or the sons of the princes individually in individual books, I have used restraint in gathering into one volume the two M Gord 1.1 3, Fuerat quidem consilium, venerabilis Auguste, ut singulos quosque imperatores exemplo multorum libris singulis ad tuam Clementiam destinarem, emperors i 76 HA, Maxim 1.2, servavi deinceps hunc ordinem, quem Pietas tua etiam ab Tatio Cyrillo, Clarissimo Viro, qui Graeca in Latinum vertit, servari voluit which your Piety also wanted to be preserved by Tatius Cyrillus, the Most Famous Gentelman, who translated Greek into

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106 said to be a translator of Greek sources into Latin, a statement which, in regard to the poems in the Historia Augusta is a strong indicator of authorial invention but not always. Cyrillus falls in the center of the probability spectrum, marked as a possible fraud by the ambiguity of his existence and practice Incapable of proof or di sproof his existential ambiguity contributes to the satiric tone of the Historia Augusta The end of the preface to the Vita Gordianorum meanwhile, pre emptively apologizes in a dense period if the author babbles too long. 77 One phrase vexes: quam me urba ne declinare confingo C onfingo is the fulcrum of bafflement Magie translates it 78 This translation, however, makes the author impute fraud and trickery upon himself, a vi olation of his modus operandi A clever solution emerges from a law of Ulpian in Digest which uses the phrase homicidium in se confingere declare cleverly that I 79 The use of Ulpian as the key to understanding this passage is telling, for he appears with unusual frequency in the Historia Augusta 80 The confusion is aporia 77 HA, Gord 1.5, sed ne ego, qui longitudinem librorum fugi multitudinemque verborum, in eam incurrisse videar, quam me urbane d eclinare confingo, iam rem adgrediar 78 Magie, 1924, 381; OLD s.v. confingo 79 Justin., Digest, Primitiuum seruum, qui homicidium in se confingere metu ad dominum reuertendi suspectus esset, perseuerantem falsa demonstratione damnasti ndemned a first born slave who had been suspected of declaring himself guilty of murder out of fear of returning to his 80 Ulpian, and especially the bibliotheca Ulpia : HA, Pesc. Nig. 7.4, Elagab 16.2, 16.4, 16.5, Alex. Sev. 15.6, 26.5, 27.2, 31.2, 31.3, 34.6, 51.4, 67.2, 68.1, Aurel. 1.7, 1.10, 8.1, 24.7, Tacit 8.1, Prob. 2.1, Car 11.3.

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107 Starting with the Tyranni Triginta every subsequent biography contains a preface which muses on either the aesthetics of biography or themes that lie at the core of the Historia Augusta It opens with the curious declaration that no t written historically or in a learned fashion, but conversationally 81 Like many utterances in the Historia Augusta it functions on two levels The recusatio of ability or power is a traditional poetic and political technique, an act of false modesty to inspire trust The notion of disingenuity always predominates in a recusatio however: h ad Rome been less opposed to kings, Caesar would gladly have worn a crown The same applies to poetic recusationes the poet sees himself as indeed worthy. 82 This would f it with the mask of authority which the Historia Augusta wears, but the wary reader knows better The collection does not stand upon style This is an ambivalent statement of false modesty and startling honesty As with quam me urbane declinare confingo e xpectation and execution are balanced to leave the reader in a state of uncertainty The preface to the Vita Aureliani expands the ambiguity piscus creates an elaborate dramatic scene: during the Hilaria he rides in a carriage with the City Prefect Junius Tiberianus building projects, the prefect laments to his biographer friend the lack of a Latin 83 The lies are thick 81 HA, Tyr. Trig 1.1, Scriptis iam pluribus libris non historico nec diserto sed pedestri adloquio 82 It bega n with Callimachus and figures prominently in Latin poetry of all stripes: Wimmel 1960, Smith 1968, Conte 2000, Glauthier 2009. 83 HA, Aurel. 1, Hilaribus, quibus omnia festa et fieri debere scimus et dici, impletis sollemnibus vehiculo suo me et iudiciali carpento praefectus urbis Iunius Tiberianus accepit sermonem multum a Palatio usque ad Hortos Varianos instituit et in eo praecipue de vita principum. cumque ad Templum Solis venissemus ab Aureliano principe consecratum quaesivit a me quis vitam eius in l itteras rettulisset. cui cum ego respondissem neminem a me Latinorum, Graecorum aliquos lectitatos, dolorem gemitus sui vir sanctus per haec verba profudit accepi libros Graecos et omnia mihi necessaria in manum sumpsi, ex quibus ea quae digna erant memor atu in unum libellum contuli Hilaria when we know that all

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108 an d complex be found in libri lintei 84 The linen books, however, are a blatant anachronism, a humorous assertion of scholarly diligence that was outmoded by the fourth century. 85 The Hilaria mirror s the Historia Augusta for it is a single name applied to multiple events The most common Hilaria festival was on 25 March, when celebrants would join Magna Mater in celebrating the resurrection of Attis, but another dedicated to Isis fell on 3 November. 86 The term could even apply generally to any private or public cause for celebration. 87 Within its fictive construct, the Historia Augusta might refer to any of the three Junius Tiberianus man who held two prefectships, one from 18 February 291 to 3 August 292, the other 12 September 303 to 4 January 304. 88 Thus, the conversation described in the preface allen in either term of office, but not both It also could have fallen during one of the general hilaria Given that the Vita Aureliani claims to have been festal things ought to be conducted and uttered, once the rites were fulfilled the prefect of the city, Junius Tiberianus, took me in his carriage, indeed, on his judicial coach. He start ed a long conversation, from the Palace to the Varian Garden, and especially about the life of the princes. And after we had reached the Temple of the Sun, which was christened by the emperor Aurelian, he asked me who had committed his life into writing. W hen I answered him that, of the Latin authors, I had read over no one, among the books, and I took into my hand all necessary things, from which I gathe red those things that were worthy of remembrance into one book. 84 HA, Aurel. 1, quae omnia ex libris linteis, in quibus ipse cotidiana sua scribi praeceperat, pro tua sedulitate condisces from the linen books, in 85 Livy, 4.7 cites Licinius Macer using l ibri lintei to support his more antiquarian claims. Ogilvie 1958, 40 6 suggests that they wer 86 Turcan 1996, 44 7; the Chronograph of Filocalus lists the November festival. 87 Smith and Wayte 1890 s.v. Hilaria 88 Dessau 1889, 344 5 ; Mommsen 1890, 257.

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109 completed only after the consulship of Furius Placidus in 354, neither is probable. 89 The ambiguity is deliberate, but the first Hilaria is the most attractive, for a substantial part of that festival was a Saturnalian masquerade where a common man could put on a mask and imitate anyone, even a senator. 90 The mind behind the Historia Augusta in honor of the holiday, has adopted the persona of the biographer. The prefa ce to the Vita Aureliani also marks a significance appearance of preceding set of biographies The city prefect plays the diabolus and defends him(self), even raising the biographer to the level of Suetonius, Sallust, and Livy. 91 This is not the last time that the Historia Augusta will set itself in the historiographical tradition not always to the same conclusion. 89 HA, Aurel. 18.4, vidimus proxime consulatum Furii Placidi 90 Herod. , , beginning of spring each year, on a day set aside for the mother of the gods, the Romans hold a parade, and all the tokens of wealth that they have among them, and the trea sures of the kings, and the wonders of the forest and of craft go in procession before the goddess. Uncontrolled license for all sorts of play has been given to all, and each man plays what part he wants; nor is a position so great or remarkable that it is not permitted for he who wants to and is already engaged in it to play and to hide the truth, so 5, 146. 91 HA, Aurel. 2, Et quoniam sermo nobis de Trebellio incuriose, multa breviter prodidisset, me contra dicente neminem scriptorum, quantum ad historiam pertinet, non aliquid esse mentitum, prodente quin etiam in quo Livius, in quo Sallustius, in quo Corneli us Tacitus, in quo denique Trogus manifestis testibus convincerentur Scribe, inquit, ut libet. securus quod velis dices, habiturus mendaciorum comites, quos historicae eloquentiae miramur auctores talk arose among us about Trebellius Pollio, wi th Tiberianus declaring that Pollio had put forward many things carelessly, many things briefly, but I disagreed, saying that no writers have not made up lies as far as pertains to history, offering up in fact that in which Livy, in which Sallust, in which Cornelius Tacitus, in please, to have as allies in you lies the authors of historical eloquence whom we admire.

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110 The preface to the Vita Probi offers important external remarks for analysis of the falsehoods in the Historia Augusta It contains the strongest statement on historiographical aesthetics in the collection, opening with a florid (and not entirely unimpressive) declam ation, recalling the greatest Latin historians and retelling the anecdote of Alexander the Great congratulating Achilles for havin g so great a eulogizer in Homer : It is certain that Sallustius Crispus and Marcus Cato and Gellius, historians in their manne virtues are as great as the want them to seem by the talent of those who wrote down the deeds of each of them So it is that Alexander the Great of Macedon, after he had come to the tomb of Achilles, l et out a profound groan and such a herald for your virtues. 92 s for this rhetorical exercise but says that he wants to reintroduce the great emperor Probus to general knowledge He continues that he will even go as far as Maximian and Diocletian, if he lives long enough. 93 T promises nothing great except the conti nued memory of a great emperor, but the demonstrative ille deflates the false modesty The author has already made himself equal with the greatest Latin historians and even Homer; modesty is not for him. 92 HA, Prob. 1.1 2, Certum est quod Sa llustius Crispus quodque Marcus Cato et Gellius historici sententiae modo in litteras rettulerunt, omnes omnium virtutes tantas esse quantas videri eas voluerint eorum ingenia qui unius cuiusque facta descripserint. inde est quod Alexander Magnus Macedo, c um ad Achillis sepulchrum venisset, graviter ingemescens Felicem te, inquit, iuvenis, qui talem praeconem tuarum virtutum repperisti 93 HA, Prob. 1.3 6, 3 Quorsum haec pertineant, mi Celsine, fortassis requiris. Probum principem scriptorum inopia iam paen e nescimus sed non patiar ego ille, a quo dudum solus Aurelianus est expetitus, cuius vitam quantum potui persecutus, Tacito Florianoque iam scriptis non me ad Probi facta conscendere, si vita suppetet, omnes qui supersunt usque ad Maximianum Diocletianumque dicturus. neque ego nunc facultatem eloquentiamque polliceor sed res gestas, quas perire non patior the emperor Probus because of a lack of authors. But I, t he one who by whom Aurelian alone was long ago sought out, whose life I pursued as far as I could, as Tacitus and Florian were already written on, could not allow myself not to go to the deeds of Probus if life remains, to speak of all those who remain up to Maximian and Diocletian. Nor do I now promise fluency and eloquence, but the hard facts, which I

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111 then place s himself in the ancient tradition, not following all the Livies, Sallusts, Tacituses or Troguses, but a series of (as he describes them) m ore common authors, like Marius Maximus, Suetonius, Julius Capitolinus, and Aelius Lampridius, who write non tam diserte quam vere 94 This passage is significant for several reasons: that he la uded in the Vita Aureliani The second list of authors, meanwhile, introduces further ambiguity: the last two Historia Augusta whose works include the outrageous Vita Elagabali ; the middle two, Fabius Marcellinus and Gargilius Martialis, are among the potentially invented names. 95 Marius Maximus and Suetonius are real, but Ammianus inveighs against the former for his inferior quality One good, authentic author out of six hardly qualifies as a group writing The preface to the Quadrigae Tyrannorum treats those same authors quite differently Suetonius is said to have barely treated the minor pretenders Lucius Antonius and Gaius Vindex in his own lives out of h is love of concision; 96 yet Antonius 94 HA, Prob 2. 7 et mihi quidem id animi fuit ut non Sallustios, Livios, Tacitos, Trogos atque omnes disertissimos imitarer viros in vita principum et temporibus disserendis, sed Marium Maximum, Suetonium Tranquillum, Fabium Marcellinum, Gargilium Martialem, Iulium Capitolinum, Aelium Lampridium ceterosque, qui haec et talia non tam diserte quam vere memoriae tradiderunt h a plan in discussing the life and times of emperors to imitate not the Sallusts, Livies, Tacituses Troguses, and all the other most learned men, but Marius Maximus, Suetonius Tranquillus, Fabius Marcellinus, Gargilius Martialis, Julius Capitolinus, Aeli us Lampridius, and all the rest who have passed down these and such 95 Syme 1971, 47. 96 HA, Quad. Tyr. 1.1 2, Minusculos tyrannos scio plerosque tacuisse aut breviter praeterisse. nam et Suetonius Tranquillu s, emendatissimus et candidissimus scriptor, Antonium Vindicemque tacuit, brevitatem ts, for even Suetonius Tranquillus, the most faultless and frank writer, was silent on Antony and Vindex, satisfied that

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112 was an irrelevant figure who was destroyed by bad luck before he threatened the emperor while Vindex was given ample treatment in both the Vita Neronis and the Vita Galba e 97 Marius Maximus, meanwhile, is criticized f or wordiness and mythistorica volumina books as well as for discussing certain minor rulers in the life of the more important figure under whom they operated. 98 M ythistorica is a neologism invented by the Historia Augusta the meaning of w 99 from the preface to Probus with a fanciful description that perfectly describes the Historia Augusta itself. Even the critique of cond ensing the lives of lesser rulers fails, for although the cited examples Avidius Cassius, Pescennius Niger, and Clodius Albinus were treated separately earlier in Historia Augusta into the biographies Florian, a minor Augustus who shared rule with Tacitus for a few months and whom the author mentions repeatedly, and Quintillus, a sho rt lived coregent with Claudius 100 T he last book in the Historia Augusta combines three separate Augusti into a single volume Den Hengst suggests that this var iation in treatment represents a change of plan on the the Vita Alexandri Severi and working through the Vita 97 Suet., Do mitian us 6.2 treats the brief uprising of Lucius Antonius Saturninus; for Vindex, see Nero 40 6; Galba 9.2, 11.2. The treatment of Vindex is, in fact, more thorough than many of the Nebenvitae or individual constituents of the Tyranni Triginta 98 HA, Quad. Tyr 1.1 2, et Marius Maximus Avidium Marci temporibus, Albinum et Nigrum Severi non mythistoricis se voluminibus implicavit, num ad istam descriptionem curam que descendit? Maximus joined Avidius with the times of Marcus, Albinus and Niger with those of Severus, not in their wrapped himself up in mythis 99 OLD s.v. mythistoricus 100 Florian appears at HA, Tacit 9.5, 13.6, 14.4, 16.4 5, 17.4; Prob 1.5, 10.1, 10.8, 11.3, 13.3 4; Quad. Tyr. 1.4. Quintillus appears at Claud 10.6, 12.3, 12.5, 13.2, 13.9; Aurel. 2.1, 16.1, 17.4, 37.5.

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113 Cari et Carini et Numeriani he extended the collection to include the series from the Vita Hadriani through the Vita Elagabali 101 But I am concerned not with how the author crafted the text, but the impact of the final collection C ontradiction and hypocrisy grow steadily more transparent across the Historia Augusta The last book treats three emperors, Carus, C arinus, and Numerianus The preface to this vita does not ind ulge in pure fraudulence but rather surveys all of Roman history, from Romulus and Remus through the ancient kings, the Republic and Empire, up to the age of Diocletian The survey is a departure from what the reader has come to expect from the Historia Augusta : an honest, cogent analysis of the vagaries of history The preface indirectly recalls the first preface to the Vita Elagabali by stating that several good emperors, Aurelian and Tacitus an d Probus, were felled by capricious fortune This statement contradicts the moral of the earlier biography, but the true import of the preface lies in its solid analysis of the caprice of empire: some rulers good, others bad, and a constant succession of t he two. 102 It encapsulates everything that the previous biographies demonstrated and states the essential thesis of the Historia Augusta : there is no security in empire; the reign of any good emperor will only anticipate a worse one later ; and any effort to ensure good rule will inevitably fail before the forces of history The rest of this dissertation will explore the ramifications of this satiric conclusion. 101 Den Hengst 2010, 153. 102 HA, Numer 1.1 3, Fato rem publicam regi eamque nunc ad summum evehi, nunc ad minima retrahi Probi mors satis prodidit tion to be ruled by fate, and for it to be conveyed

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114 CHAPTER 5 RELIGION IN THE HISTORIA AUGUSTA 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6

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115 7 8 9 10 11 7 8 9 10 11

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116 12 13 14 15 16 12 13 Cameron 2011, 386 9. 14 15 16

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117 17 18 19 17 18 19

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118 Christianity in the Vita Alexandri Severi 20 21 20 21

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119 22 23 24 25 26 27 22 23 24 25 26 27

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120 28 He said that it was unseemly, since the Christians and Jews did it in electing priests w ho had to be ordained, for it not to be done for the governors of provinces, to whom the fortunes and lives of men were entrusted. 29 28 29

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121 Because Christians had occupied a certain place which had been public and the popinarii said that it was owed to them, he wrote that it was better for a god to be worshipped there in any way at all than for it to be surren dered to popinarii 30 31 32 30 31 32

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122 If anyone had turne d from the road into someone's property, he was subjected, in light of the quality of his station, either to clubs or to rods or to death; or, if the man's rank surpassed all these things, to the most severe slanders, when he said, 'Do you want to be done i n your field what you are doing in another's? 33 34 35 36 33 34 35 36

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123 Christianity in the Rest of the Historia Augusta 37 37

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124 38 39 40 41 38 39 40 41 HA, Aurel. 20.6 8 agite igitur et castimonia pontificum caerimoniisque sollemnibus iuvate principem necessitate publica laborantem. inspiciantur Libri; si quae facienda fuerint celebrentur; quemlibet

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125 42 Hadrian Augustus to the Consul Servian, Greetings Egypt, whose praises you used to extol to me, my dearest Servian, I have l earned to be wholly wasted, shiftless and flitting about at every buffet of rumor There, those who worship Serapis are Christians, and they are devoted to Serapis who call themselves bishops of Chris t No one there, no t the high priest of the Jews, not th e Samaritans, not a presbyter of the Christians, is not a mathematician, or a haruspex, or a trainer The patriarch himself, when he comes to Egypt, is forced by some to worship Serapis, by others Christ They are the most unruly, most shallow, most harmfu l race of men, a rich, wealthy, fertile state in which no one may live at leisure...there is one god sumptum, cuiuslibet gentis captos, quaelibet animalia regia non abnuo sed libens offero neque enim indecorum est dis iuvantibus vincere. sic apud maiores nostros multa finita sunt bella, sic coepta. si quid est sumptum, datis ad praefectum aerarii litteris decerni iussi. est praeterea vestrae auctoritatis arca publica, quam magis refertam r eperio esse quam cupio rites an emperor who is toiling for the public good. Let the Books be examined; if there is anything that ver royal animals, I do not refuse them but gladly offer them! For it is not unseemly to conquer with the help of the gods. So were man y wars ended, so were they begun among our ancestors. If there is any expense, I have ordered it to be distributed in a l etter iven to the prefect of the treasury. Moreover, the public coffer s are in your power, 42

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126 among them, the coin The Christ ians worship it, the Jews worshi p it, everyone worships it, even the nations. 43 44 45 43 44 45

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127 Deification 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 46 47 48 49 50 51 52

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129 55 56 55 56

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130 57 58 59 60 57 58 59 60

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131 61 62 61 62

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132 63 Sacrifice 64 65 66 63 64 65 66

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133 67 68 69 67 68 69

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134 70 71 72 73 74 75 70 71 72 73 74 75

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135 76 77 78 76 77 78

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139 Divination 87 88 89 87 hroughout the Historia Augusta To modern skeptical eyes, these prophecies seem antiquated and silly, but they formed an integral part of ancient biography. Most are treated perfunctorily, introduced with stock phrases and contributing nothing to the satir ic satiric makeup of the Historia Augusta ; for instance, HA, Hadr 26.6, Signa mortis haec habuit ; Pert 14.1, Signa interitus haec fuerunt ; Sev 1.7, habuit et aliud omen imperii ; Clod 5.10, haec atque alia signa imperii futuri fuere ; Tacit 17.1, Omina imperii Tacito haec fuerunt. 88 89

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140 90 91 92 90 91 92

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142 96 97 98 96 97 98

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143 99 100 101 102 103 99 100 101 102 103

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144 104 105 106 The Importance of Religion? 104 105 106

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145 CHAPTER 6 POLITICAL APORIA For although in the course of time, built up or assaulted by various upheavals, now by some distress, now by changing fortune, [the Republic] endured almost everything which mortality endures in a single man, after a multitude of evils it seemed that it would now stay sa fe, with constant good 1 2 3 1 2 HA, Car. 1 3. 3 HA

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146 4 5 6 4 5 6

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148 Nomen Antoninorum 11 12 13 11 12 13

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152 24 25 26 27 24 25 26 27

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153 28 29 When the prophet of Caelestis in Carthage, who is accustomed to sing the truth when she is inspired by the goddess, predicted under Antoninus Pius, who as proconsul was asking about the public welfare, as he was accustomed, and about his empire, predicted the future and it came to the emperors, she gave the order to tally how many times she said 'Antoninus.' Th en, to the amazement of all, she said the name 'Antoninus' eight times But since everyone believed that Antoninus Pius would rule for eight years and he surpassed this number of years, there was agreement even among 28 29

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154 the credulous that the prophet meant so mething else either then or afterwards Finally, when all who were called Antoninus are counted up, that is found to be the number of the Antonines. 30 Indeed, the Antonines were: Pius first, Marcus second, Verus third, Commodus fourth, fifth Caracalla, sixth Geta, seventh Diadumenia nus, eighth Elagabalus The two Gordians must not be set among the Antonines, who either had only the praenomen of the Antonines or were in fact called 'Antonius,' not 'Antoninus.' So it is that Severus called himself 'Antoninus,' as most say, and Pertinax and Julianus and likewise Macrinus, and this name was kept beyond what is appropriate by the Antonini who were the true successors of Antoninus Some say this, but other s accordingly say that Diadumenianus was called Antoninus by his father Macrinus, in o rder to remove Macrinus from the suspicion of the death of Antoninus among the soldiers. 31 32 30 31 32

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155 Moreover, he was the priest of Elagabalus, or Jupiter, or the Sun, and he had taken the name Antoninus for himself either to prove his birth or because he knew that that name was so dear to the people tha t even the parricide Bassianus was loved because of the name. 33 34 35 But as for the name up to no w, although he polluted that holy name of the Antonines, which you, Most Holy Constantine, so honored that you made 33 34 35

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156 Marcus and Pius golden among the Constantii and Claudii like they were your ancestors, adopting the virtues of the ancients that agree with your character and are lovely and dear to you... 36 37 38 36 37 38

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159 47 Child Emperors 48 49 47 The nomen Antoninorum finally ends with the Vita Gordi anorum but one related usage of the term arises. Four times the Historia Augusta while discussing payments, refers to both silver and gold coins as Antoniniani (HA Aurel 9.7, ad sumptus aureos Antoninianos diurnos binos "Two gold Antoniniani per day per person for pay;" 12.1, dabis ad editionem circensium aureos Antoninianos trecentos "You will give three hundred gold Antoniniani for holding games;" Prob 4.5, aureos Antoninianos centum "a hundred gold Antoniniani ;" Firm 15.8, argentos Anto ninianos mille "a thousand silver Antoninani ." ) No such coin is known, but before the fourth century both silver and gold coins were gradually debased until they became worthless. A series of monetary policies by Aurelian, Diocletian, and Constantine soug ht to fix the currency crisis, culminating with the introduction of the stable and successful gold solidus ( Jones 1964, 61 9, 438 48; Potter 2004, 391 ) In light of the nomen Antoninorum an interesting explanation emerges. The invention of the term Antoni nianus in reference these coins, once valuable but gradually debased over time, mirrors the degradation of the Antonine name. These coins become a metaphor for the Antonines and the entire imperial edifice, debased in every sense, rendered worthless by the passage of time. 48 49

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165 Senatorial Acclamations 65 65

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170 80 Junius Cordus says that it was a secret decree of the senate...so that nothing would come to Maxi minus...but at once, Maximinus found everything out, such that acquired a copy of the secret decree of the senate, which had never happened before. 81 82 80 81 82

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181 LIST OF REFERENCES Adams, J 1972 On the Authorship of the Historia Augusta Classical Quarterly 22: 186 94. Alderink, L 1981 Creation and Salvation in A ncient Orphism Chico. Alfldi A 1964 Zwei Bemerkungen zur Historia Augusta Bonn. Alonso Nez, J 2002 The I dea of U niversal H istory in Greece : F rom Herodotus to the Age of Augustus Amsterdam. Alston, R 1994 Roman Military Pay from Caesar to Diocletian Journal of Roman Studies 84: 111 23. Anderson, W 1982 Essays on Roman Satire Princeton. Astbury, R 1988 Review of Menippean Satire as a Literary Genre with Special Reference to Seneca's Apocolocyntosis by Hannu Riikonen. Classical Review 38.2: 417. Astbury, R., e d. 2002. M. Terentius Varro Saturarum Menippearum fragmenta Munich Baehrens, A ed. 1882. Poetae Latini Minores Leipzig. Bakhtin, M 1968 Rabelais and his World trans. Helene Iswolsky Cambridge Bakhtin, M 1984 Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics tr ans Caryl Emerson Minneapolis. Baldwin, B 1981 Acclamations in the Historia Augusta Athenaeum 59: 138 49. Baldwin, B 1985 Leopards, Roman Soldiers, and the Historia Augusta Illinois Classical Studies 10.2: 281 83. Ballou, S 1914 The Manuscript Tradition of the Historia Augusta Leipzig. Barnes, T.D 1967 Hadrian and Lucius Verus Journal of Roman Studies 57: 65 79. Barnes, T. D 1972 Some Persons in the Historia Augusta Phoenix 26: 140 82. Barnes, T.D 1978 The Sources of the Historia Augusta Brussels. Barnes, T.D 1991 Jerome and the Historia Augusta In H istoria A ugusta C olloquium P aris inum edd. Giorgio Bonamente and Nol Duval, 19 28 Macerata. Barton, T 1994 The Inventio of Nero: Suetonius In Reflections of Nero: Culture, History, & Representation edd. Jas Elsner and Jamie Masters, 51 8 Chapel Hill.

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190 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Shawn Gaius Daniels is a native of Vandalia, Ohio In 2008 he received a BA in Latin and a BA in Greek with honors at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio Since 2008 he has studied at the University of Florida and complete d his PhD in 2013.